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ART  OF  PROLONGING  LIFE. 


HUFELAND'S 


ART  OF  PROLONG™  LIFE. 


EDITED    BY 

ERASMUS    WILSON,    F.R.S. 


. 


3 


BOSTON: 
TICKNOR,    REED,    AND    FIELDS. 

MDCCCLIV. 


CAMBRIDGE : 
ALLEN    AND    FAENHAM,    PRINTERS, 


v-iq 


\\eci 

U 

EDITOR'S  PEEFACE. 


THE  "  Art  of  Prolonging  Life,"  by  Christopher  William 
Hufeland,  a  philosophic  physician  and  professor  of  medicine 
in  the  University  of  Jena,  is  a  work  enjoying  a  deserved 
popularity  in  Germany  ,'where  it  has  gone  through  several 
editions.  Though  translated  into  English,  in  1797,  it  is 
but  little  known  in  this  country,  less  indeed,  as  it  appeared 
to  the  Editor,  than  its  merits  deserve ;  and  it  is  under  the 
hope  of  being  able  to  fill  a  vacant  niche  in  popular  litera- 
ture, and  restoring  to  his  proper  sphere  of  usefulness  an  able 
and  accomplished  instructor,  that  the  Editor  has  now  un- 
dertaken the  present  edition  of  his  book.  In  its  English 
costume,  and  bearing  a  dedication  to  George  Christopher 
Lichtenberg,  Counsellor  of  State  to  his  Britannic  Majesty, 
and  one  of  the  Professors  in  the  University  of  Gbttingen, 
the  work  was  published  in  two  octavo  volumes,  with  respect- 
able and  roomy  type,  short  lines,  shorter  pages,  and  broad 
margins,  an  effectual  prohibition  to  its  wide  diffusion.  The 
translation  bears  the  impress  of  a  master's  hand ;  it  is  ele- 
gant and  exact,  and  in  the  Editor's  judgment,  is  the  pro- 
duction of  the  learned  author's  own  pen.  Under  this  belief, 
the  Editor  has  selected  the  translation  of  1794,  with  its  pure 
and  classic  language,  for  the  present  volume,  in  preference 
to  a  new  translation  from  a  later  German  edition. 

The  Reader  will  probably  be  struck,  as  was  the  Editor, 


vi  EDITOR'S  PREFACE. 

with  the  little  real  progress  which  has  been  made  in  the 
science  of  living  during  the  more  than  half  a  century  since 
the  original  work  was  first  written  ;  and  the  feeling  of  a  ne- 
cessity for  bringing  the  matter  up  to  the  present  line  of 
march  will  be  dissipated  by  its  perusal.  Indeed  it  seemed 
to  the  Editor  more  fitting  as  a  ground  of  wholesome  reflec- 
tion, that  we  should  have  placed  before  our  eyes  the  philos- 
ophy of  half  a  century  back,  that  we  might  thereby  learn 
how  much  still  remained  to  be  done,  before  our  knowledge 
of  the  subject  could  be  regarded  as  complete. 

With  an  elegant  translation,  then,  done  to  his  hand,  all 
that  remained  to  the  Editor  was  a  labor  of  taste ;  to  adapt 
the  work  to  the  modes  of  thinking  and  feeling  of  the  present 
day,  certain  truths,  too  true  to  be  allowed  to  stand  forth  in 
all  their  naked  proportions,  required  a  veil  to  be  thrown 
around  the.m  ;  words  that  betrayed  the  foreign  source  of 
the  translation,  and  bore  a  meaning  different  to  that  which 
would  have  been  deduced  from  their  construction,  required 
to  be  exchanged  for  terms  of  more  obvious  nationality ;  and, 
in  a  few  instances,  certain  elaborate  disquisitions,  bordering 
on  absolute  prose,  needed  to  be  expunged  altogether.  The 
temple  of  knowledge,  at  the  present  day,  is  called  on  to  put 
forth  all  its  allurements  to  invite  mankind  to  enter  its  portals, 
while  with  equal  care  its  harsher  features  must  be  thrown 
into  the  shade.  The  art  of  the  arrangement  consists  in 
softening  the  rude  by  its  combination  with  the  refined  ;  in 
accustoming  the  senses  to  the  subdued  tints  before  the  more 
sombre  shadows  are  developed.  In  this,  and  a  few  necessary 
notes,  the  whole  of  the  Editor's  labor  is  embraced. 

HENRIETTA  STREET,  CAVENDISH  SQUARE, 
June,  1853. 


PREFACE. 


THE  life  of  man,  physically  considered,  is  a  peculiar  chem- 
ico-animal  operation ;  a  phenomenon  effected  by  a  concur- 
rence of  the  united  powers  of  Nature  with  matter  in  a  con- 
tinual state  of  change.  This,  like  every  other  physical  ope- 
ration, must  have  its  defined  laws,  boundaries,  and  duration, 
so  far  as  they  depend  on  the  sum  of  the  given  powers  and 
matter,  their  application,  and  many  other  external  as  well 
as  internal  circumstances ;  but,  like  every  other  physical 
operation,  it  can  be  promoted  or  impeded,  accelerated  or  re- 
tarded. By  laying  down  just  principles  respecting  its  essence 
and  wants,  and  by  attending  to  observations  made  from 
experience,  the  circumstances  under  which  this  process  may 
be  hastened  and  shortened,  or  retarded  and  prolonged,  can 
be  discovered.  Upon  this  may  be  founded  dietetic  rules  and  a 
medical  mode  of  treatment  for  preserving  life ;  and  hence 
arises  a  particular  science,  the  MACROBIOTIC,  or  the  art  of 
prolonging  it,  which  forms  the  subject  of  the  present  work. 

This  art,  however,  must  not  be  confounded  with  the  com- 
mon art  of  medicine  or  medical  regimen  :  its  object,  means, 
and  boundaries  are  different.  The  object  of  the  medical  art 
is  health;  that  of  the  macrobiotic,  long  life.  The  means 
employed  in  the  medical  art  are  regulated  according  to  the 


Vlll  PREFACE. 

present  state  of  the  body  and  its  variations ;  those  of  the 
macrobiotic,  by  general  principles.  In  the  first  it  is  suffi- 
cient if  one  is  able  to  restore  that  health  which  has  been 
lost;  but  no  person  thinks  of  inquiring  whether,  by  the 
means  used  for  that  purpose,  life,  upon  the  whole,  will  be 
lengthened  or  shortened ;  and  the  latter  is  often  the  case  in 
many  methods  employed  in  medicine.  The  medical  art  must 
consider  every  disease  as  an  evil  which  cannot  be  too  soon 
expelled ;  the  macrobiotic,  on  the  other  hand,  shows  that 
many  diseases  may  be  the  means  of  prolonging  life.  The 
medical  art  endeavors,  by  corroborative  and  other  remedies, 
to  elevate  mankind  to  the  highest  degree  of  strength  and 
physical  perfection ;  while  the  macrobiotic  proves  that  here 
even  there  is  a  maximum,  and  that  strengthening,  carried 
too  far,  may  tend  to  accelerate  life,  and  consequently,  to 
shorten  its  duration.  The  practical  part  of  medicine,  there- 
fore, in  regard  to  the  macrobiotic  art,  is  to  be  considered 
only  as  an  auxiliary  science  which  teaches  us  how  to  know 
diseases,  the  enemies  of  life,  and  how  to  prevent  and  expel 
them ;  but  which,  however,  must  itself  be  subordinate  to  the 
higher  laws  of  the  latter. 

Long  life  has  at  all  times  been  the  chief  wish,  the  principal 
object  of  mankind ;  but  how  confused  and  contradictory  are 
all  the  plans  ever  proposed  for  obtaining  it!  The  stern 
theologist  derides  such  attempts ;  and  asks,  if  the  period  of 
existence  is  not  determined  to  every  being  —  and  who  is 
able  to  add  a  hair-breadth  to  his  stature,  or  a  minute  to  the 
duration  of  his  existence  ?  The  practical  physician  exclaims, 
why  do  you  search  for  the  particular  means  of  prolonging 


PREFACE.  IX 

life  ?  Employ  my  art ;  take  care  of  your  health,  guard 
against  diseases,  and  cure  those  which  have  appeared.  This 
is  the  only  way  to  promote  longevity.  The  adept  shows  his 
vital  elixir,  and  boldly  asserts  that  those  who  will  persevere 
to  take  that  incorporated  spirit  of  life  may  hope  to  become 
old.  The  philosopher  endeavors  to  resolve  the  problem,  by 
teaching  men  to  despise  death,  and  to  double  life  by  enjoy- 
ment. The  innumerable  legion  of  quacks  and  empirics,  on 
the  other  hand,  who  have  gained  the  confidence  of  the  mul- 
titude, inspire  them  with  a  belief  that  there  are  no  surer 
means  of  becoming  old,  than  to  let  blood  at  proper  times,  and 
to  use  cupping,  purgatives,  etc. 

It  appeared  to  me,  therefore,  useful  and  necessary  to 
rectify  the  ideas  of  the  public  on  a  matter  of  so  much  impor- 
tance ;  and  to  bring  this  science  back  to  solid  and  simple 
principles,  by  which  it  might  acquire  that  connection  and 
systematic  order  of  which  it  hath  hitherto  been  destitute. 

For  eight  years  this  subject  has  been  the  favorite  employ- 
ment of  my  leisure  hours ;  and  it  will  give  me  great  happi- 
ness if  it  be  to  others  only  half  as  serviceable  as  it  has  been 
to  me.  The  present  melancholy  age,  so  destructive  to  man- 
kind, induced  me  to  engage  in  this  undertaking ;  and  the 
idea  of  its  being  useful,  while  it  afforded  me  the  highest  con- 
solation, encouraged  me  to  pursue  my  researches. 

My  chief  aim  was  to  establish  the  Art  of  prolonging  Life 
on  systematic  grounds,  and  to  make  known  the  means  for 
accomplishing  that  object ;  but,  to  convey  a  proper  idea  of 
the  whole,  it  was  necessary  to  comprehend  some  concomitant 
circumstances  which  gradually  presented  themselves  to  my 


X  PREFACE. 

notice.  This,  in  the  first  place,  appeared  to  be  the  best  way 
of  giving  a  higher  interest  and  more  general  value  to  many 
dietetic  rules ;  because  I  have  always  found  that  much  less 
impression  is  made  when  one  says,  this  or  that  substance,  this 
or  that  mode  of  living,  is  healthful  or  unhealthful,  (since  this 
is  relative,  and  depends  on  the  strength  or  weakness  of  the 
constitution  as  well  as  on  other  points,  and  has  a  reference 
to  the  immediate  consequences,  which  are  often  impercep- 
tible, and  therefore  make  those  who  are  not  physicians  dis- 
believe the  whole,)  than  when  the  proposition  is  thus  ex- 
pressed—  these  things,  these  modes  of  living,  prolong  or 
shorten  life;  for  this  depends  less  on  circumstances,  and 
cannot  be  judged  of  from  the  immediate  consequences.  And, 
secondly,  this  work  insensibly  became  a  repository  to  which 
I  committed  many  of  my  favorite  ideas ;  where  I  indulged 
in  many  digressions  suited  to  a  citizen  of  the  world,  and  was 
happy  to  have  it  in  my  power  to  connect  these  ideas  by  a 
thread  so  beautiful  and  so  extensive  in  joining  every  thing 
as  the  thread  of  life. 

According  to  the  point  of  view  under  which  I  necessarily 
considered  my  subject,  it  was  natural  that  I  should  treat  it, 
not  only  medically,  but  also  morally ;  for,  how  is  it  possible 
to  write  on  human  life,  without  taking  into  consideration  its 
connection  with  the  moral  world,  to  which  it  so  peculiarly 
belongs  ?  On  the  contrary,  I  have  found  more  than  once, 
in  the  course  of  my  labor,  that  the  physical  man  cannot  be 
separated  from  his  higher  moral  object :  —  and  I  may,  per- 
haps, reckon  it  a  small  merit  in  the  present  performance, 
that  it  will  not  only  establish  the  truth  and  heighten  the 


PREFACE.  Xi 

value  of  the  moral  laws,  in  the  eyes  of  many,  by  showing 
that  they  are  indispensably  necessary  for  the  physical  sup- 
port and  prolongation  of  life  —  but  that  it  demonstrates,  that 
the  physical  nature  of  man  has  been  suited  to  his  higher 
moral  destination  ;  that  this  makes  an  essential  difference  be- 
tween the  nature  of  man  and  the  nature  of  animals  ;  that  with- 
out moral  cultivation  man  is  in  continual  contradiction  with 
his  own  nature  ;  and  that,  by  culture  alone,  he  becomes  even 
physically  perfect.  May  I  be  so  fortunate,  by  these  means, 
as  to  accomplish  two  objects :  not  only  to  render  the  life  of 
man  more  healthful  and  longer;  but  also,  by  exciting  his 
exertions  for  that  purpose,  to  make  him  better  and  more 
virtuous !  I  can  at  any  rate  assert,  that  man  will  in  vain 
seek  for  the  one  without  the  other,  and  that  physical  and 
moral  health  are  as  nearly  related  as  the  body  and  the  soul. 
They  flow  from  the  same  sources ;  become  blended  together ; 
and  when  united,  the  result  is,  HUMAN  NATURE  ENNOBLED 

AND  RAISED  TO  PERFECTION. 

I  must  here  observe,  that  as  this  work  is  not  designed 
merely  for  physicians,  but  for  the  public  in  general,  I  was 
obliged  in  some  points  to  be  more  diffuse,  and  in  others 
shorter,  than  if  I  had  written  for  the  former  alone.  I  had, 
in  particular,  a  regard  to  young  people  ;  because  I  am  con- 
vinced that  the  grounds  of  a  long  or  a  short  life  can  be  most 
effectually  laid  at  an  early  period  ;  and  that,  through  unpar- 
donable negligence  in  the  education  of  youth,  information  on 
this  subject,  so  important  to  their  physical  happiness,  is 
entirely  forgotten.  I  have,  therefore,  placed  in  the  clearest 
light  those  points  most  necessary  to  be  known  at  an  early 


Xll  PREFACE. 

age ;  and,  in  general,  have  treated  my  subject  so  that  the 
book  may  be  put  into  the  hands  of  young  persons  without 
any  danger :  —  and  it  will  afford  me  inexpressible  joy  if  it 
be  not  only  recommended  to  them,  but  employed  also  in 
schools,  to  convey  instruction  respecting  their  physical  well- 
being  —  which  must  indeed  be  given  in  such  seminaries,  as 
I  unfortunately  know,  by  long  experience,  that  in  colleges 
it  will  be  for  the  most  part  too  late. 

My  readers,  I  hope,  will  forgive  me  for  not  supporting 
with  quotations  every  instance  I  have  adduced,  and  every 
fact  related.  My  motive  for  omitting  them  was  an  appre- 
hension of  swelling  the  work  too  much,  and  of  rendering  it 
too  expensive.  I  must,  however,  remark,  that  the  instances 
given  of  the  age  of  man  are  taken  chiefly  from  Bacon's  His- 

TORIA  VlT^E  ET  MORTIS. 

To  conclude,  I  will  readily  allow,  that  many  parts  of  this 
work  might  have  been  written  in  a  better  and  fuller  manner; 
but  I  console  myself  with  the  agreeable  persuasion,  which  no 
one  can  deprive  me  of,  that  what  I  have  said  may  be  use- 
ful, and  that  its  utility  will  recommend  it,  and  procure  it 
support. 

JENA,  July,  1796. 


CONTENTS. 


PART  THE  FIRST. 

CHAPTER  I.  —  State  of  this  Science  among  the  Egyptians  and  the 
Greeks ;  Gymnastic :  Gerocomic ;  Hermippus.  State  of  it  in  the 
middle  ages;  Theophrastus  Paracelsus.  Astrological  method. 
Talismans.  Thurneiser.  Cornaro,  and  his  severe  regimen. 
Method  by  transfusion.  Lord  Bacon.  St.  Germain.  Mesmer 

p.  1—21 

CHAPTER  II.  —  Inquiry  into  the  nature  of  the  vital  power,  and  the 
duration  of  life  in  general.  Properties  and  laws  of  the  vital 
power.  Definition  of  life.  Vital  consumption  inseparable  conse- 
quence of  vital  operation.  Term  of  life.  Causes  of  the  duration 
of  life.  Retardation  of  vital  consumption.  Possibility  of  pro- 
longing life.  Intensive  and  extensive  life.  Sleep  .  22 — 44 
i 

CHAPTER  III.  —  Duration  of  the  life  of  plants ;  diversity  of  it. 
Annual,  biennial,  perennial.  Experiments  respecting  circum- 
stances by  which  this  is  determined ;  result  of  them.  Applica- 
tion of  the  fundamental  principles  of  the  duration  of  life.  Great 
influence  of  attention  and  culture  on  the  duration  of  the  life  of 
plants -.  .  45—66 

CHAPTER  IV.  —  Duration  of  life  in  the  animal  world.  Observations 
on  plant-animals.  Worms.  Insects.  Metamorphosis  an  impor- 
tant mean  of  prolonging  life.  Amphibia.  Fish.  Birds.  Ani- 
mals which  suckle.  Result.  Influence  of  maturity  and  growth 
on  the  duration  of  life.  Perfection  or  imperfection  of  organiza 
tion  of  life.  Rapid  or  slow  vital  consumption.  Restoration 

57—71 


XIV  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  V.  —  Duration  of  the  life  of  man.  Apparently  incredible 
age  of  the  patriarchs  explained.  Age  of  the  world  has  no  influ- 
ence on  the  duration  of  human  life.  Instances  of  great  age 
among  the  Jews,  Greeks,  and  Eomans.  Tables  of  the  census 
under  Vespasian.  Instances  of  great  age  among  kings,  emperors, 
and  popes.  Frederick  II.  Among  hermits  and  monks.  Philoso- 
phers and  men  of  letters.  Poets  and  artists.  Instances  of  the 
greatest  age  to  be  found  only  among  country  people,  hunters,  gar- 
deners, soldiers,  and  sailors.  Few  to  be  found  among  physicians. 
Shortest  life.  Difference  of  age  according  to  the  climate 

72—94 

CHAPTER  VI.  —  Eesult  of  the  above  observations.  Age  of  the  world 
has  no  influence  on  that  of  its  inhabitants.  Influence  of  climate 
and  of  the  atmosphere.  Islands  and  peninsulas.  Countries  in 
Europe  most  favorable  to  longevity.  Advantages  of  temperance. 
The  two  most  dreadful  extremes  of  mortality  in  modern  times. 
Moderation  in  all  things  has  great  effect  in  prolonging  life.  State 
of  marriage.  Female  sex.  Industry.  Frugality.  Civilization. 
Rural  life.  Renovation  possible.  Extent  of  human  life  deter- 
mined. Absolute  and  relative  duration  of  it.  Tables  respecting 
the  latter 95—109 

CHAPTER  VII.  —  More  particular  examination  of  human  life.  Es- 
sential definition  of  it.  Principal  operations  on  which  it  depends. 
Accession  from  without.  Assimilation  and  animalization.  Nutri- 
tion and  preparation  of  the  organized  matter.  Power  and  organs 
consumed  by  life  itself.  Separation  and  destruction  of  exhausted 
parts.  Organs  necessary  for  life.  History  of  life.  Causes  of  the 
long  duration  of  the  life  of  man.  Influence  of  reason  and  the 
higher  powers  of  thought.  Answer  to  the  question,  "  Why, 
among  men,  who  are  more  fitted  for  long  life  than  animals,  mor- 
tality, however,  should  be  greater  ?  "  .  .  .  110 — 129 

•CHAPTER  VIII.  —  Signs  of  long  life  in  individuals.  Sound  stomach 
and  organs  of  digestion.  Good  teeth.  Well-organized  chest. 
Heart  not  too  irritable.  Strong  natural  power  of  restoration  and 
healing.  Sufficient  quantity  and  diffusion  of  the  vital  power. 
Good  temperament.  Faultless  and  well-proportioned  make  of 
body.  No  particular  weakness  of  any  part.  Portrait  of  a  man 
destined  to  long  life 130 — 138 


CONTENTS.  XV 

CHAPTER  IX. — Examination  of  various  new  methods  for  prolonging 
life.  By  vital  elixirs.  Gold  tinctures,  and  wonder-working  es- 
sences. By  hardening  the  organs.  By  rest,  and  suspending  for  a 
time  vital  activity.  By  guarding  against  consumption,  and  the 
external  causes  of  disease.  By  fast  living.  Account  of  the  only 
methods  possible  by  which  life  can  be  prolonged.  Proper  union 
of  the  four  principal  indications  :  Increasing  of  the  vital  power, 
Strengthening  the  organs,  Moderating  vital  consumption,  Fa- 
voring restoration.  Modification  of  these  methods,  according  to 
difference  of  constitution,  temperament,  age,  and  climate 

139—162 


PART  THE  SECOND. 

INTRODUCTION 163 

MEANS  WHICH  SHORTEN  LIFE      .        .  164 

CHAPTER  I.  —  Delicate  nursing  and  treatment  in  infancy         .  167 

CHAPTER  II.  —  Physical  excess  in  youth          ....  169 

CHAPTER  III. —  Over-strained  exertion  of  the  mental  faculties  171 

CHAPTER  IV.  —  Diseases.     Injudicious    manner   of    treating 

them.     Sudden  kinds  of  death.    Propensity  to  self-murder  177 

CHAPTER  V.  — Impure  air.    Men  living  together  in  large  cities  183 

CHAPTER  VI.  —  Intemperance  in  eating  and    drinking.    Re- 
fined cookery.     Spirituous  liquors 185 

CHAPTER  VII. — Passions   and  dispositions   of  mind  which 

shorten  life.  Peevishness.  Too  much  occupation  and  business  190 

CHAPTER  VHL  — The  fear  of  death 193 

CHAPTER  IX.  —  Idleness.    Inactivity.    Languor      .        .        .  198 
CHAPTER  X.  —  Overstrained  power  of  the  imagination.    Im- 
aginary diseases.     Sensibility 201 

CHAPTER  XL  —  Poisons  physical  as  well  as  infectious     .        .  204 

CHAPTER  XII.  —  Old  age.   Premature  ingrafting  of  it  on  youth  216 


XVI  CONTENTS. 


PART  THE  THIRD. 

MEANS  WHICH  PROLONG  LIFE     .        .  219 

CHAPTER  I.  —  Good  physical  descent 219 

CHAPTER  II.  —  Prudent  physical  education      ....  225 

CHAPTER  IH.  —  Active  and  laborious  youth     ....  240 

CHAPTER  IV.  —  Abstinence  from  physical  love  in  youth,  and 

a  too  early  assumption  of  the  married  state          .        .        .  242 

CHAPTER  V.  —  Happy  married  state 246 

CHAPTER  VI.  —  Sleep 250 

CHAPTER  VII.  —  Bodily  exercise 257 

CHAPTER  VHL  —  The  enjoyment  of  free  air.    Moderate  tem- 
perature of  warmth 259 

CHAPTER  IX.  —  Rural  and  country  life  .  261 

CHAPTER  X.  —  Travelling         .......  267 

CHAPTER  XL  —  Cleanliness,  and  care  of  the  skin     .        .        .  272 

CHAPTER  XH.  —  Proper  food.  Moderation  in  eating  and  drink- 
ing.   Preservation  of  the  teeth 280 

CHAPTER  XHI.  —  Mental  tranquillity.    Contentment.    Dispo- 
sitions of  mind  and  employments  which  tend  to  prolong  life  288 

CHAPTER  XIV.  —  Reality  of  character 293 

CHAPTER  XV.  —  Agreeable  stimulants  of  the  senses  and  of 

sensation  moderately  used    ...        .....  295 

CHAPTER  XVI.  —  Preventing  diseases.    Judicious  treatment  of 

them.    Proper  use  of  medicine  and  physicians  .        .  297 

CHAPTER  XVH.  —  Relief  in  cases  where  one  is  exposed  to 

the  danger  of  sudden  death 314 

CHAPTER  XVIII.  —  Old  age.    Proper  treatment  of  it       .        .  321 

CHAPTER  XIX.  —  Cultivation  of  the  mental  and  bodily  powers  326 


ART   OF  PROLONGING  LIFE. 


PART   THE   FIRST. 


CHAPTER    I. 

State  of  this  Science  among  the  Egyptians  and  the  Greeks  ;  Gym- 
nastic :  Gerocomic  ;  Hermippus.  State  of  it  in  the  middle  :i;  \s  ; 
Theophrastus  Paracelsus.  Astrological  method.  Talismans. 
Thurneiser.  Cornaro,  and  his  severe  regimen.  Method  by  trans- 
fusion. Lord  Bacon.  S.  Germain.  Mesmer. 

THAT  incomprehensible  power,  that  immediate  influ- 
ence of  the  Deity  which  we  call  the  vital  principle, 
pervades  all  nature.  We  everywhere  behold  phenom- 
ena and  effects  which  evidently  announce  its  presence, 
though  under  an  infinite  variety  of  modifications  and 
forms ;  and  the  existence  of  life  is  proclaimed  by  the 
whole  universe  around  us.  Life  is  that  by  which  plants 
vegetate,  by  which  animals  feel  and  are  actuated  ;  but 
in  the  highest  degree  of  perfection,  sensation,  and  form, 
it  appears,  in  man,  the  supreme  link  of  the  visible  crea- 
tion. If  we  survey  the  whole  chain  of  being,  we  shall 
nowhere  find  so  complete  a  combination  of  almost  all 
the  vivifying  powers  of  nature ;  nowhere  so  much  vital 
1 


Z  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

energy,  united  with  so  long  duration  as  here.  It  needs 
excite  no  surprise,  therefore,  that  the  most  perfect  pos- 
sessor of  this  benefit  should  value  it  so  highly ;  and 
that  the  bare  idea  of  living  and  existing  should  be 
attended  with  so  much  pleasure.  All  bodies  become 
the  more  interesting  to  us,  the  more  we  can  ascribe  to 
them  a  kind  of  life  and  vital  sensation.  Nothing  can 
engage  our  attention  so  much;  nothing  induce  us  to 
make  so  great  sacrifices,  and  to  call  forth  the  most 
extraordinary  display  and  exertion  of  our  most  secret 
powers,  as  the  desire  of  preserving  life,  and  of  saving 
it  in  the  moment  of  danger.  To  those,  even, -who  are 
deprived  of  its  comforts  and  enjoyments  ;  to  those  who 
suffer  under  the  pain  of  incurable  disease,  or  who  be- 
wail the  loss  of  freedom  in  the  gloom  of  a  dungeon,  the 
idea  of  living  and  existing  presents  some  charms ;  and 
it  certainly  requires  a  derangement  of  the  finest  organs 
of  sensation,  a  circumstance  possible  only  in  man ;  a 
total  darkening  and  deadening  of  the  mental  faculties, 
to  render  life  to  us  either  disgusting  or  indifferent.  In 
so  wise  and  intimate  a  manner  is  the  love  of  life,  that 
desire  so  worthy  of  a  thinking  being,  that  grand  pillar 
of  individual  and  public  felicity  interwoven  with  our 
frame.  It  was  very  natural  for  men,  therefore,  to  con- 
ceive the  idea  whether  it  might  not  be  possible  to  pro- 
long our  existence,  and  to  give  more  extent  to  the  too 
fleeting  enjoyment  of  so  valuable  a  blessing.  This 
question,  indeed,  has,  at  all  times,  engaged  the  atten- 
tion of  mankind,  and  in  different  ways.  It  has  been  a 
favorite  object  of  the  deepest  thinking  minds ;  it  has 
afforded  a  fine  field  for  visionaries  ;  and  has  been  the 
principal  allurement  employed  by  quacks  and  impos- 


MEANS  ADOPTED  BY  THE  ANCIENTS.        3 

tors  :  for  we  shall  find  that  intercourse  with  spirits,  the 
secret  of  making  gold,  or  the  art  of  prolonging  life, 
were  the  pretences  by  which  they  deluded  the  multi- 
tude, and  imposed  on  the  credulity  of  the  public.  It  is 
interesting,  and  may  contribute  something  towards  the 
history  of  the  human  mind,  to  see  by  what  various,  and 
often  contrary,  means  people  hoped  to  obtain  that 
benefit ;  and,  as  in  latter  times,  a  Cagliostro  and  a  Mes- 
mer  have  supplied  considerable  materials  for  this  sub- 
ject, I  hope  I  shall  be  forgiven  if 'I  here  take  a  short 
view,  before  I  proceed  to  my  main  purpose,  of  the 
principal  methods  that  have  been  employed  to  lengthen 
the  duration  of  life. 

An  idea  of  this  kind  prevailed,  even  in  the  earliest 
ages,  among  the  Egyptians,  the  Greeks,  and  the  Ro- 
mans. In  Egypt,  a  country  which  gave  birth  to  si 
many  romantic  notions,  means  were  devised  for  the 
attainment  of  this  object ;  and  it  is  not  improbable  that 
such  researches  may  have  been  occasioned  by  the  un- 
healthfulness  of  the  climate,  owing  to  its  great  heat,  and 
the  inundations  of  the  Nile.  It  was  believed  there, 
that  life  could  be  prolonged  by  the  continued  use  of 
emetics  and  sudorifics.  It  was,  therefore,  a  general 
custom  to  take,  at  least,  two  emetics  every  month ;  and 
instead  of  saying,  How  do  you  find  yourself?  one  asked 
another,  How  do  you  perspire  ?  This  passion  among 
the  Greeks,  under  the  influence  of  a  pure  and  serene 
atmosphere,  assumed  a  different  direction.  These  peo- 
ple were  persuaded  that  a  rational  enjoyment  of  nature, 
and  the  continual  exercise  of  their  powers,  were  the 
surest  means  of  strengthening  the  vital  principle,  arid  of 


» 


4:  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

prolonging  life.  Hippocrates,  and  all  the  physicians 
and  philosophers  of  that  period,  knew  no  other  method 
of  accomplishing  this  end  than  by  moderation  ;  the  use 
of  free  and  pure  air ;  bathing ;  and,  above  all,  by  daily 
friction  of  the  body  and  exercise.  Particular  directions 
and  rules  were  laid  down  for  giving  violent  and  gentle 
motion  to  the  body  in  a  variety  of  ways :  a  particular 
art,  called  the  Gymnastic,  hence  arose ;  and  the  great- 
est philosophers  and  men  of  learning  never  forgot  that 
the  body  and  the  soul  ought  to  be  exercised  in  the 
same  proportion.  This  art,  to  us  almost  unknown,  of 
suiting  exercise  to  the  different  constitutions,  situations, 
and  wants  of  man ;  of  employing  it,  above  all,  as  the 
means  of  keeping  his  internal  nature  in  proper  activity, 
and  thereby  not  only  rendering  the  causes  of  disease 
ineffectual,  but  also  curing  diseases  which  have  already 
appeared,  they,  indeed,  brought  to  an  extraordinary 
degree  of  perfection.  One  Herodicus,  we  are  told, 
carried  these  ideas  so  far  that  he  compelled  his  patients 
to  walk ;  to  suffer  their  bodies  to  be  rubbed ;  and,  the 
more  the  disease  weakened  them,  to  endeavor  to  over- 
come that  weakness  by  strengthening  the  muscular 
powers :  and  he  had  the  good  fortune  to  lengthen  seve- 
ral years,  by  this  method,  the  lives  of  so  many  enfeebled 
patients,  that  Plato  reproached  him  with  having  acted 
very  unjustly  towards  these  unfortunate  people,  in  pro- 
longing, by  artificial  means,  that  existence  of  which  they 
would  always  have  less  and  less  enjoyment.  The  clear- 
est ideas  and  most  agreeable  to  nature  on  preserving  and 
lengthening  life  may  be  found  in  Plutarch,  who,  by  the 
happiest  old  age,  confirmed  the  truth  of  his  prescrip- 


MEANS    ADOPTED    BY   THE    ANCIENTS.  5 

tions.  His  information  on  this  subject,  he  concludes 
with  the  following  rules,  which  may  suit  also  the  present 
age  :  "  Keep  your  head  cool,  and  your  feet  warm ;  in- 
stead of  employing  medicine  for  every  indisposition, 
rather  fast  a  day ;  and  while  you  attend  to  the  body, 
never  neglect  the  mind." 

A  singular  method  of  prolonging  life,  ascribed  also  to 
the  earliest  ages,  was  the  Gerocomic  ;  or  the  custom  of 
inspiring  new  strength  and  vigor  into  a  body  enfeebled 
under  a  load  of  years,  by  exposing  it  to  the  effluvia  of 
fresh  and  blooming  youth.  A  well-known  instance  of 
this  practice  may  be  found  in  the  history  of  King  David ; 
and  we  learn  from  several  passages  in  the  writings  of 
the  ancient  physicians,  that  it  was  formerly  much  used, 
and  considered  as  of  great  efficacy  in  relieving  the  in- 
firmities of  age.  Even  in  modern  times  this  prescription 
has  been  followed  with  advantage.  The  great  Boer- 
haave  caused  an  old  burgomaster  of  Amsterdam  to  sleep 
between'two  young  persons ;  and  he  assures  us  that  the  old 
man  acquired  by  these  means  a  visible  increase  of  vigor 
and  activity.  When  one,  indeed,  reflects  what  change 
may  be  produced  on  diseased  limbs  by  the  vital  evapo- 
ration of  animals  newly  killed,  and  what  may  be  the 
consequence  of  applying  living  animals  to  parts  affected 
with  pain,  this  method  will  appear  not  to  be  altogether 
despicable. 

It  is  highly  probable  that  the  great  value  which  the 
Greeks  and  the  Romans  set  upon  inspiring  pure  sound 
breath  may  have  been  founded  on  these  ideas ;  and  the 
following  ancient  inscription,  discovered  at  Rome  in  the 
last  century,  seems  to  allude  to  this  subject :  — 


0  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

JEsculapio  et  Sanitati. 

L.  Clodius  Hermippus, 
Qui  vixit  annos  cxv.  dies  v. 

Puellarum  anhelitu. 
Quod  etiam  post  mortem  ejus 
Non  parum  mirantur  physici, 
Jam  poster!,  sic  vitam  ducite. 

To  ^Esculapius  and  Health 

Dedicated 

By  L.  Clodius  Hermippus, 
Who  lived  cxv  years  v  days 
By  the  breath  of  young  maids. 

Whether  this  inscription  be  authentic  or  not,  it  gave 
occasion,  in  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  to  a 
work  in  which  one  Dr.  Cohausen  endeavors,  with  much 
learning,  to  prove  that  Hermippus  was  the  master  of  a 
training  school,  or  teacher  of  female  children,  at  Rome, 
who,  by  living  continually  amidst  a  circle  of  young  maids, 
had  been  enabled  to  prolong  his  life  to  so  great  an  age. 
He  advises  people,  therefore,  with  much  benevolence,  to 
expose  themselves,  every  evening  and  morning,  to  the 
breath  of  young  innocent  maidens ;  and  asserts,  that  they 
will  thereby  contribute  in  an  incredible  degree,  to  the 
strengthening  and  preserving  the  vital  power ;  as,  accord- 
ing to  the  saying  of  the  adepts,  the  first  matter  is  con- 
tained purest  in  the  breath  of  innocence. 

But  that  long  period  of  darkness  during  the  middle 
ages,  when  all  clear  and  natural  conceptions  were  ban- 
ished by  fanaticism  and  superstition ;  when  the  specula- 
tive indolence  of  the  cloister  gave  rise  to  some  chemical 
and  physical  discoveries,  which  served  rather  to  bewil- 
der than  enlighten  the  understanding,  and  tended  more 
to  promote  credulity  than  enlarge  knowledge,  was  the 


<THE    CHEMICAL    METHOD.  7 

most  fertile  in  romantic  notions  on  this  subject.  It  was 
during  this  night  of  ignorance  that  the  most  monstrous 
chimeras  of  the  human  mind  were  produced ;  and  that 
those  absurd  ideas  of  witchcraft,  sympathy,  the  philoso- 
pher's stone,  occult  qualities,  chiromancy,  cabala,  uni- 
versal remedies,  were  established,  or  at  least  propaga- 
ted in  the  world ;  and  which  unfortunately  yet  prevail, 
and,  though  in  a  changed  and  modernized  form,  are 
still  employed  to  mislead  mankind.  Amidst  that  men- 
tal darkness  an  opinion  arose,  that  the  preservation  and 
prolongation  of  life,  which,  as  the  gift  of  nature,  had 
been  hitherto  sought  for  by  the  most  natural  means, 
could  be  obtained  by  chemical  transmutations,  by  the 
help  of  the  first  matter  which  men  thought  they  had 
caught  in  retorts,  by  guarding  against  the  influence  of 
malignant  constellations,  and  by  other  ridiculous  con- 
ceits of  the  like  kind.  I  hope  I  shall,  therefore,  be 
here  permitted  to  mention  a  few  of  the  plans  then  pro- 
posed to  mankind,  which,  notwithstanding  their  absurd- 
ity, were  nevertheless  credited. 

One  of  the  most  impudent  quacks  and  greatest  boast- 
ers among  the  prolongers  of  life  was  Theophrastus  Par- 
acelsus, or,  as  he  is  better  characterized  by  his  whole 
name,  Philippus  Aureolus  Theophrastus  Paracelsus 
Bombastus  ab  Hohenheim.  He  had  travelled  over  half 
the  world ;  had  collected  receipts  and  wonder-working 
medicines  from  all  quarters  and  corners  ;  and,  in  partic- 
ular, which  was  very  uncommon,  had  studied  in  mines 
the  nature  and  management  of  metals.  He  began  his 
career  by  depreciating  every  thing  before  taught ;  by 
treating  all  the  great  public  seminaries  with  the  utmost 
contempt ;  by  giving  himself  out  as  the  first  physician 


8  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

and  philosopher  in  the  world ;  and  by  solemnly  assert- 
ing that  there  was  no  disease  which  he  could  not  cure, 
no  life  which  he  could  not  prolong.  As  a  proof  of  his 
insolence  and  of  the  high  tone  in  which  the  quacks  of 
the  fifteenth  century  addressed  the  public,  I  shall  here 
quote  the  beginning  of  his  principal  work :  —  "  Ye  must 
give  way  to  me,  and  not  I  to  you ;  ye  must  give  way  to 
me,  Avicenna,  Rhases,  Galen,  Mesue;  ye  must  give 
way  to  me,  ye  of  Paris,  ye  of  Montpellier,  ye  of  Swabia, 
ye  of  Misnia,  ye  of  Cologne,  ye  of  Vienna,  and  what- 
ever places  lie  on  the  Danube  and  the  Rhine:  ye 
islands  in  the  sea ;  thou  Italian,  thou  Dalmatian,  thou 
Athenian,  thou  Greek,  thou  Arabian,  thou  Israelite; 
you  must  give  way  to  me,  and  not  I  to  you.  The  mon- 
archy is  mine !  "  One  may  readily  perceive  that  this  au- 
thor was  not  in  the  wrong  when  he  said,  "  I  am  not  fine- 
spun by  nature ; "  but  he  had  the  art  of  clothing  his  ab- 
surdities in  so  dark  and  mysterious  language,  that  people 
imagined  they  contained  the  deepest  secrets  which  they 
here  and  there  sought  to  discover;  and  that,  at  any 
rate,  it  was  impossible  to  contradict  him.  By  these 
means,  and  by  the  new  and  accidental  effects  of  some 
chemical  preparations  which  he  first  introduced  into 
medicine,  he  attracted  great  notice ;  and  his  fame  was 
so  far  extended,  that  pupils  and  patients  flocked  to  him 
from  every  part  of  Europe ;  and  that  even  an  Erasmus 
did  not  disdain  to  consult  him.  He  died,  however,  in 
the  fiftieth  year  of  his  age,  though  he  possessed  the 
stone  of  immortality ;  and  when  this  vegetable  sulphur 
is  closely  examined,  it  is  found  to  be  nothing  else  than 
a  hot  substance  much  like  the  liquor  of  Hoffmann. 
But  it  was  not  enough  that  recourse  should  be  had  to 


THE   ASTROLOGICAL    METHOD.  9 

chemistry  and  the  world  of  spirits  in  order  to  prolong 
our  days ;  the  stars  also  must  be  employed  for  that  pur- 
pose. It  was  at  the  above  period  commonly  believed, 
that  the  influence  of  the  stars,  which  people  could  not 
allow  themselves  to  suppose  idle,  ruled  over  the  lives 
and  fortunes  of  men ;  that  every  planet  or  constellation 
could  give  to  the  whole  frame  of  the  being  born  under 
it,  a  certain  disposition  to  good  or  evil ;  and  that,  conse- 
quently, it  was  necessary  only  for  an  astrologer  to  know 
the  hour  and  minute  of  a  person's  birth  to  discover  his 
temperament,  capacity,  and  fate ;  to  foretell  the  diseases 
to  which  he  would  be  subject,  the  death  he  would  die, 
and  even  the  last  day  of  his  existence.  This  opinion 
prevailed  not  only  among  the  ignorant  multitude,  but 
among  the  greatest,  the  wisest,  and  the  most  judicious 
people  of  the  age ;  and  it  is  astonishing  how  long  and  how 
firmly  they  relied  on  these  ideas,  though  instances  could 
not  be  wanting  of  such  predictions  proving  altogether 
false.  Bishops,  dignified  clergymen,  celebrated  philos- 
ophers and  physicians,  gave  themselves  up  to  the  cast- 
ing of  nativities ;  and  lectures  were  read  in  colleges  on 
that  subject,  as  well  as  upon  cabala  and  the  art  of  divi- 
nation by  punctures  and  circles.  As  a  proof  of  what  I 
have  advanced,  let  me  here  be  permitted  to  say  a  few 
words  respecting  the  celebrated  Thurneiser,  the  most 
brilliant  phenomenon  of  this  kind ;  a  man  truly  singu- 
lar. He  resided  in  the  last  century  at  the  electoral 
court  of  Berlin,  and  was  physician  in  ordinary,  chemist, 
nativity-caster,  almanac-maker,  printer,  and  booksel- 
ler, all  in  one  person.  His  reputation  in  astrology  was 
so  great,  that  scarcely  was  there  a  child  born  in  any  re- 
spectable family  in  Germany,  Poland,  Hungary,  Den- 


10  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

mark,  and  even  England,  whose  parents  did  not  imme- 
diately despatch  a  messenger  to  him  with  an  exact  ac- 
count of  the  moment  of  its  birth.  Eight,  ten,  and  twelve 
such  nativities  came  to  him  often  at  one  time ;  and  he 
was  at  last  so  oppressed  with  them,  that  he  was  obliged 
to  engage  an  assistant  in  his  business.  Several  vol- 
umes of  such  questions  are  still  preserved  in  the  library 
at  Berlin,  among  which  there  appear  some  letters  from 
Queen  Elizabeth.  Besides,  he  composed  annually  an 
astrological  calendar,  in  which  was  described  not  only 
the  nature  of  the  year  in  general,  but  also  the  principal 
events  of  it ;  and  the  days  on  which  they  would  take 
place  were  distinguished  by  abbreviations  or  signs.  He, 
indeed,  for  the  most  part,  did  not  give  the  explanation 
of  them  till  the  year  following;  but  we  find -instances  of 
his  having  been  prevailed  upon  by  money  and  fair  words 
to  explain  them  before.  It  is  astonishing  what  the  art 
of  indefinite  prophetic  diction  and  the  favor  of  accident 
can  effect.  This  calendar  supported  itself  above  twenty 
years ;  had  a  rapid  and  extensive  sale ;  and,  with  other 
quackeries,  procured  to  the  author  an  estate  of  100,000 
florins. 

But  in  an  art  which  prescribed  such  certain  and  un- 
passable  boundaries  to  the  life  of  man,  how  was  it  pos- 
sible to  find  the  means  of  prolonging  it  ?  This  was 
-done  in  the  following  simple  manner :  it  was  supposed 
that,  as  every  man  lay  under  the  influence  of  a  certain 
star,  every  other  body,  plants,  animals,  and  even  whole 
districts  and  single  houses  had  each  its  own  star,  by 
which  it  was  ruled ;  and  that,  besides,  there  was  an  in- 
timate connection  and  sympathy  between  the  planets 
.and  the  metals.  As  soon  as  it  was  known  from  what 


9  THE  ASTROLOGICAL    METHOD.  11 

constellation  or  planet  a  man's  misfortune  or  sickness 
proceeded,  nothing  more  was  necessary  than  that  he 
should  use  such  food,  drink,  and  place  of  residence  as 
were  under  the  government  of  an  opposite  planet.  This 
produced  a  new  regimen,  but  totally  different  from  that 
of  the  Greeks  already  mentioned.  If  a  day  occurred 
which,  on  account  of  its  unfavorable  constellation,  gave 
reason  to  apprehend  severe  sickness  or  other  evils, 
people  retired  to  a  spot  which  lay  under  the  disposition 
of  a  friendly  star,  or  they  took  such  nourishment  and 
medicine  as,  under  the  protection  of  a  beneficent  star, 
would  annihilate  the  influence  of  the  malignant  one.* 
On  the  same  grounds  people  hoped  for  a  prolongation  of 
life  by  talismans  and  amulets.  Because  the  metals 
were  in  intimate  connection  with  the  planets,  to  wear  a 
talisman  of  the  proper  metal,  which  had  been  melted, 
cast,  and  stamped  under  certain  constellations,  was  suf- 
ficient to  appropriate  to  oneself  the  whole  power  and 
protection  of  the  planets  with  which  it  was  connected. 
People  had  not  only  talismans  which  averted  the  dis- 
eases of  one  planet,  but  talismans  for  all  astral  diseases ; 

*  About  that  period,  Marsilius  Ficinus,  in  his  Treatise  on  the 
Prolongation  of  Life,  advised  all  prudent  people  to  consult  an 
astrologer  every  seven  years,  in  order  that  they  should  be  ap- 
prised of  the  dangers  which  might  threaten  them  during  the  fol- 
lowing seven ;  and  in  particular  to  respect  and  to  use  properly 
the  means  of  the  three  holy  kings,  —  Gold,  Frankincense,  and 
Myrrh.  M.  Pansa,  in  the  year  1470,  dedicated  to  the  Council  at 
Leipsic,  a  book  De  propaganda  vita ;  Aureus  libellus :  in  which  he 
strongly  advised  these  gentlemen,  above  all  things,  to  make 
known  their  favorable  and  unfavorable  aspects,  and  to  be  on  their 
guard  every  seven  years,  because  Saturn,  a  hostile,  malignant 
planet,  ruled  at  those  periods. 


12  ART    OF  PROLONGING   LIFE.  « 

and  some  even  which,  by  a  particular  mixture  of  dif- 
ferent metals,  and  the  peculiar  art  employed  in  melting 
them,  acquired  the  wonderful  power  of  destroying  the 
whole  influence  of  an  unlucky  nativity ;  of  advancing 
to  offices  of  dignity,  and  of  rendering  the  most  essential 
service  in  regard  to  commerce  or  marriage.  Was  Mars 
imprinted  on  a  talisman  in  the  sign  Scorpio,  and  had  it 
been  cast  under  that  constellation,  it  rendered  the  per- 
son who  wore  it  invincible  and  invulnerable ;  and  the 
German  soldiers  were  so  prepossessed  with  this  idea, 
that,  as  a  French  writer  informs  us,  after  a  defeat  which 
they  sustained  in  France,,  amulets  were  found  hanging 
from  the  necks  of  all  the  killed  and  prisoners.  The 
image  of  the  planet-deity  must  not,  however,  for  the 
above  purpose,  have  an  antique,  but  a  mystic  and  ro- 
mantic figure  and  dress.  For  jovial  diseases  one  had 
a  talisman  with  the  figure  of  Jupiter,  which  bore  a  per- 
fect resemblance  to  an  old  professor  of  Wittenberg  or 
Basle.  He  was  represented  like  a  man  with  a  beard, 
in  a  wide  gown  lined  with  fur,  holding  in  the  one  hand 
an  open  book,  and  demonstrating  with  the  right.  I 
should  not  have  dwelt  so  long  on  the  present  subject, 
had  not  this  conceit  of  the  last  century  been  again 
revived  a  few  years  ago  by  Cagliostro,  and  found  par- 
tisans here  and  there  towards  the  end  of  the  eighteenth. 
The  more  ridiculous  and  abstruse  these  conceptions 
were,  the  more  respectable  must  be  the  memory  of  a 
man  who  could  fortunately  rise  superior  to  them,  and 
discover  the  art  of  prolonging  life  by  pursuing  the  path 
of  temperance  and  of  nature.  Cornaro,  who  by  the 
simplest  and  strictest  regimen,  and  an  unexampled  per- 
severance in  his  plan,  attained  happily  to  a  great  age, 


THE   DIETETIC    METHOD.  13 

which  rewarded  him  richly  for  his  self-denial,  and  gave 
an  instructive  lesson  to  posterity,  was  an  Italian.  One 
cannot  read  the  history  of  the  life  and  abstinence  of  this 
veteran  of  eighty-three,  and  hear  how  he  praises  that 
serenity  and  contentment  for  which  he  was  indebted  to 
his  mode  of  living,  without  participating  in  his  happi- 
ness and  his  cheerful  sensations.  Till  the  fortieth  year 
of  his  age  he  had  led  a  life  of  dissipation ;  had  been 
always  subject  to  colics,  pains  in  his  limbs,  and  a 
fever ;  and  was  so  far  reduced  by  the  last,  that  his  phy- 
sicians assured  him  he  could  not  live  above  two  months ; 
that  all  medicine  would  be  useless ;  and  that  the  only 
thing  which  could  be  recommended  for  him  was  a  spare 
diet.  Having  followed  this  advice,  he  found,  after  some 
days,  that  he  was  much  better ;  and  at  the  end  of  a  few 
years  his  health  was  not  only  perfectly  reestablished, 
but  he  became  sounder  than  ever  he  had  been  befcre. 
He  resolved,  therefore,  to  restrain  himself  more  and 
more,  and  to  use  nothing  except  what  was  absolutely 
necessary  for  his  subsistence.  For  sixty  whole  years 
he  took  no  more  than  twelve  ounces  of  food,  every  thing 
included,  and  thirteen  ounces  of  drink  daily.  He 
avoided  also  violent  heat  and  cold,  as  well  as  passion ; 
and  by  this  uniform  regimen  he  kept  not  only  his  body 
but  also  his  mind  in  such  a  state  of  equality  that  noth- 
ing was  able  to  derange  them.  When  at  a  great  age, 
he  lost  an  important  lawsuit ;  and  though  this  disap- 
pointment hurried  two  of  his  brothers  to  the  grave,  he 
remained  perfectly  sound  and  resigned.  He  was  once 
thrown  from  a  carriage  and  trod  under  the  feet  of  the 
horses,  so  that  an  arm  and  one  of  his  feet  were  dislocated ; 


14  ART    OF  PROLONGING   LIFE. 

but  he  caused  them  to  be  reduced,  and,  without  the  use 
of  any  medicine,  was  soon  restored  to  his  former  condi- 
tion. But  what  is  most  worthy  of  remark,  and  what 
proves  how  dangerous  the  smallest  deviation  from  long 
custom  may  be,  is  what  follows.  When  he  was  eighty 
years  of  age,  his  friends  prevailed  upon  him,  as  his  body 
now  required  more  nourishment,  to  make  a  little  ad- 
dition to  his  food.  Though  well  aware  that  with  the 
general  decay  of  strength  the  powers  of  digestion  de- 
crease also,  and  that  in  old  age  one  Ought  rather  to  les- 
sen than  increase  the  quantity  of  nourishment,  he  gave 
way  to  their  request,  and  raised  his  food  to  fourteen 
and  his  drink  to  sixteen  ounces.  "  Scarcely,"  says  he, 
"  had  I  continued  this  mode  of  living  ten  days,  when  I 
began,  instead  of  being  cheerful  and  lively  as  before,  to 
become  uneasy  and  dejected,  a  burden  to  myself  and  to 
others.  On  the  twelfth  day,  I  was  seized  with  a  pain 
in  my  side,  which  lasted  twenty-four  hours  ;  and  this 
was  followed  by  a  fever,  which  continued  with  so  much 
violence  for  thirty-five  days,  that  my  life  was  despaired 
of.  But,  by  the  blessing  of  God,  and  my  former  regi- 
men, I  recovered ;  and  now,  in  my  eighty-third  year,  I 
enjoy  a  happy  state  both  of  body  and  mind.  I  can 
mount  my  horse  without  assistance;  I  climb  steep  hills ; 
and  I  have  lately  written  a  play  abounding  in  innocent 
wit  and  humor.  When  I  return  home  from  a  private 
comp'any,  or  the  senate,  I  find  eleven  grandchildren, 
whose  education,  amusements,  and  songs  are  the  delight 
of  my  old  age.  I  often  sing  myself  along  with  them, 
for  my  voice  is  now  clearer  and  stronger  than  ever  it  was 
in  my  youth ;  and  I  am  a  stranger  to  those  peevish  and 


METHOD    BY    TRANSFUSION.  15 

morose  humors  which  fall  so  often  to  the  lot  of  old  age." 
In  this  happy  disposition  he  attained  to  his  hundredth 
year ;  but  his  example  has  never  been  imitated.* 

There  was  a  period  when  people  in  France  seemed 
to  be  so  little  acquainted  with  the  value  of  blood,  that 
Louis  XIII.,  in  the  last  ten  months  of  his  life,  was  bled 
forty-seven  times  ;  and  besides,  he  was  made  to  take 
two  hundred  and  fifteen  purgatives,  and  to  use  a  glyster 
two  hundred  and  ten  times.  Soon  after,  attempts  were 
made,  by  a  process  directly  contrary,  that  of  filling  the 
veins  with  fresh  youthful  blood,  to  invigorate  and  pro- 
long the  life  of  man,  and  to  remove  incurable  disorders- 
This  method  was  called  transfusion :  and  the  operation 
was  performed  by  opening  two  veins,  and,  by  means  of 
a  small  pipe,  conveying  blood  from  the  artery  of  an- 
other living  creature  into  the  one  vein,  whilst  the  blood 
was  suffered  to  flow  off  through  the  other.  Some  success- 
ful experiments  of  this  kind  had  been  made  in  England 
upon  animals ;  and  it  is  certain  that  some  old,  lame 
beasts,  sheep,  calves,  and  horses,  by  filling  their  bodies 
with  the  blood  of  a  young  animal,  had  acquired,  at 
least,  after  some  time,  sufficient  activity  and  vigor ;  nay,, 
attempts  were  even  made  to  inspire  courage  into  tim- 
orous animals  by  the  blood  of  some  wild  and  ferocious- 
one.  Encouraged  by  these  experiments,  people  did  not 
hesitate  to  try  if  they  could  not  restore  men  by  the  same 
means.  Dr.  Denys  and  M.  Emerez,  at  Paris,  were  in- 
deed so  fortunate  as  to  cure  a  young  man  who  labored 
under  a  lethargy  which  had  resisted  all  the  power  of 

*  I  would  earnestly  advise  people,  before  they  begin  this  regi- 
men in  the  strictest  sense,  to  consult  their  physican ;  for  abstinence 
carried  so  far  will  not  be  salutary  to  every  one. 


16  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

medicine,  and  during  which  he  had  been  blooded  twenty 
times,  by  filling  his  veins  with  the  blood  of  a  lamb  ;  and 
likewise  a  lunatic,  by  exchanging  his  blood  for  that  of 
a  calf.  But  as  only  the  most  incurable  and  wretched 
of  mankind  were  chosen  for  these  experiments,  it  soon 
happened  that  some  of  them  died  during  the  operation  ; 
and  since  that  time  no  one  has  ventured  to  try  it.*  It 
has,  however,  been  practised  on  animals  here,  at  Jena, 
with  great  success :  and  indeed  it  ought  not  to  be  en- 
lirely  rejected ;  for,  though  the  strange  blood  introduced 
into  our  bodies  must  be  soon  converted  into  our  own, 
and  much,  consequently,  cannot  be  hoped  from  it  in  re- 

*  Transfusion  has  now  become  a  standard  and  most  important 
(Operation,  and  has  been  the  means  of  saving  many  lives.  It  is 
applied  in  cases  of  extreme  loss  of  blood,  wherein  every  other 
proceeding  but  that  of  the  restoration  of  the  lost  blood  must 
•necessarily  fail.  The  first  idea  of  transfusion  dates  back  to  the 
early  part  of  the  seventeenth  century,  and  is  mentioned  in  1615, 
by  Andreas  Libavius,  in  a  work  on  the  Transmutation  of  Metals. 
In  England,  the  operation  was  performed  on  animals,  by  Dr. 
Lower  and  Mr.  Edmund  King,  in  the  year  1666,  and  later  in  the 
same  year,  after  the  news  of  Denys's  success  on  the  human  sub- 
ject. *  Dr.  Denys  and  M.  Emerez  were  the  first  to  apply  transfu- 
sion to  man,  and  their  first  success  was  very  wonderful;  the 
results,  however,  proved  unsatisfactory,  and  the  operation  was 
prohibited  by  parliament.  Dr.  Riva  met  with  a  like  want  of  suc- 
cess in  Italy,  and  the  operation  was  prohibited  by  an  edict  of  the 
Pope.  It  WAS  reserved  for  Dr.  Blundell  to  discover  the  secret  of 
its  failure,  and  revive  transfusion  in  this  country;  he  pointed  out 
the  impropriety  of  conveying  the  blood  of  animals  into  the  human 
system,  and  was  the  first  to  employ  human  blood  for  the  purpose. 
By  paying  attention  to  this  rule,  and  the  invention  of  suitable 
apparatus,  the  operation  may  now  be  deemed  perfectly  safe ;  a 
result  for  which  we  are  indebted  to  Dr.  James  Blundell,  Dr. 
Charles  Waller,  and  Mr.  Doubleday.— EDITOR. 


METHOD  OF  LORD  BACON.  17 

gard  to  renewing  and  prolonging  life,  the  sudden  and 
unaccustomed  impression  made  by  new  blood  upon  the 
noblest  of  the  vital  organs,  may  still,  in  certain  disor- 
ders, particularly  of  the  mind  and  nervous  system,  pro- 
duce a  great  and  salutary  revolution. 

The  great  Bacon,  whose  genius  embraced  every 
branch  of  science,  and  who  first  pointed  out  to  the  hu- 
man mind,  which  had  long  wandered  amidst  error,  the 
path  to  conduct  it  back  to  truth,  this  great  man  himself 
thought  the  question  respecting  the  prolongation  of  life 
worthy  of  his  attention  and  researches.  His  ideas  on 
this  subject  are  bold  and  new.  He  considers  life  as  a 
flame,  which  is  continually  consumed  by  the  surround- 
ing atmosphere.  Every  body,  even^the  hardest,  is  by 
this  incessant  evaporation  decomposed  and  destroyed. 
He  thence  concludes,  that,  by  guarding  against  th's 
consumption,  and  by  renewing  our  juices  from  time  to 
time,  life  may  be  prolonged.  For  preventing  external 
consumption,  he  recommends  in  particular  the  cold 
bath,  and  after  bathing,  that  friction  with  oil  and  oint- 
ments which  was  so  much  practised  by  the  ancients. 
To  lessen  internal  consumption,  he  prescribes  tranquil- 
lity of  mind,  cooling  food,  with  the  use  of  opium  and 
opiates,*  by  which  the  too  great  vivacity  of  the  internal 
emotions  will  be  moderated,  and  the  wasting  connected 

*  I  trust  that  none  of  the  readers  of  this  book  will  be  tempted 
to  make  vise  of  opium  or  opiates,  upon  this  prescription  of 
Bacon.  That  philosopher  must  have  reasoned  upon  the  theo- 
retical properties  of  opiates  as  sedatives  ;  but  practical  observa- 
tion proves  them  to  be  stimulants,  and  consequently  means 
which  tend  to  increase  "  internal  consumption  "  very  powerfully. 
The  habitual  use  of  opium  and  opiates  would  certainly  have  the 
effect  of  shortening  rather  than  of  lengthening  life.  —  EDITOR. 
2 


18  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

with  them  will  be  retarded.  But,  to  remedy  the  una- 
voidable desiccation  and  corruption  of  the  juices,  the 
attendant  of  increasing  years,  he  considers  the  best 
method  to  be  to  undergo  every  two  or  three  years  a 
renovating  process,  which  consists  in  first  freeing  the 
body  from  all  the  old  and  corrupted  juices,  by  spare 
diet  and  cathartics  ;  and  then  again  filling  the  dry  ves- 
sels with  new  juices,  by  means  of  choice  refreshing 
and  nourishing  food  ;  and  thus,  in  the  properest  sense, 
to  renew  and  invigorate  one's  self  periodically.  The 
truth  contained  in  these  ideas  cannot  be  denied ;  and, 
with  some  modification,  these  precepts  might  at  all 
times  be  employed. 

At  present,  men  have  made  more  progress  in  the 
arts  that  shorten  life  than  in  that  of  prolonging  it. 
Abundance  of  quacks  have  appeared,  and  still  appear, 
who  with  astralish  salts,  gold  tinctures,  ethereal  essences, 
celestial  beds,  and  the  magic  of  magnetism,  promise 
to  arrest  the  course  of  nature.  It  was,  however,  soon 
found  that  the  celebrated  tea  of  long  life,  of  the  Count 
de  St.  Germain,  was  only  a  very  vulgar  mixture  of 
sandal-wood,  senna  leaves,  and  fennel ;  that  the  elixir 
of  life,  so  much  boasted  of  by  Cagliostro,  was  merely  a 
simple  but  very  hot  stomachic  ;  that  the  wonderful  vir- 
tue of  magnetism  depended  on  the  combined  effects  of 
imagination,  nervous  irritation,  and  sensibility;  and 
that  the  vaunted  ethereal  salts  and  gold  tinctures  con- 
tributed more  to  benefit  their  inventor,  than  to  prolong 
the  lives  of  those  who  employed  them. 

The  phenomenon  of  magnetism  deserves  in  a  par- 
ticular manner  not  to  be  omitted  in  this  catalogue. 
Mesmer,  an  enthusiastic  physician,  who  becoming  a 


METHOD    BY   MAGNETISM.  19 

bankrupt  had  fallen  into  contempt,  and  who,  in  all 
probability,  was  not  so  much  assisted  by  invisible  pow- 
ers as  encouraged  by  negligent  magistrates,  at  length 
conceived  the  idea  of  making  artificial  magnets,  which 
he  sold  as  a  sovereign  remedy  for  many  diseases,  such 
as  lameness,  the  gout,  toothache,  headache,  etc.  As  he 
found  that  this  plan  succeeded,  he  advanced  a  step 
further,  and  asserted  that  he  had  no  more  occasion  for 
artificial  magnets,  but  that  he  himself  was  the  grand 
magnet  which  should  magnetize  the  world.  His  own 
person,  he  pretended,  was  so  filled  with  magnetic  vir- 
tue, that  he  could  communicate  it  to  another  by  the 
touch,  by  stretching  out  his  finger,  and  even  by  a  single 
look.  He,  indeed,  produced  instances  of  people,  who, 
being  touched  by  him,  or  even  looked  at,  declared  they 
had  experienced  sensations  as  if  they  had  been  struck 
with  a  stick,  or  a  piece  of  iron.  This  singular  virtue 
he  called  animal  magnetism  ;  and  he  connected  with 
that  strange  appellation  whatever  is  dearest  to  man, 
life,  wisdom,  and  health;  which  by  these  means  he 
could  dispense  and  diffuse  at  his  pleasure. 

As  he  was  not  long  permitted  to  propagate  his  en- 
thusiasm at  Vienna,  he  removed  to  Paris  ;  and  it  was 
there  that  he  first  properly  began  to  exhibit.  He  had 
astonishing  success  ;  every  one  wished  to  be  cured  by 
him  ;  and  all  were  desirous  of  participating  in  his  virtue, 
and  of  being  able  to  perform  miracles  also.  He  estab- 
lished a  secret  society,  every  member  of  which  was 
obliged  to  subscribe  100  louis  d'ors ;  and  he  at  length 
boldly  declared  that  he  was  the  man  whom  Providence 
had  chosen  for  the  grand  business  of  renovating  human 
nature,  so  visibly  decayed.  As  a  proof  of  what  has 


20  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

been  here  said,  I  shall  lay  before  the  reader  only  the 
following  address,  which  he  caused  to  be  made  to  the 
public  by  one  of  his  apostles  :  —  "  Behold  a  discovery 
which  will  bring  invaluable  advantages  to  mankind, 
and  eternal  fame  to  its  author !  Behold  a  general 
revolution  !  Other  men  will  inhabit  the-  earth ;  they 
will  be  checked  in  their  career  of  life  by  no  weakness  ; 
and  will  be  acquainted  with  our  evils  only  by  tradition  ! 
Mothers  will  suffer  less  from  the  dangers  of  pregnancy 
and  the  pains  of  childbirth  ;  and  they  will  bring  forth 
stronger  children,  who  will  possess  the  activity,  energy, 
and  courage  of  the  old  world.  Animals  and  plants, 
alike  susceptible  of .  the  magnetic  virtue,  will  be  free 
from  diseases ;  flocks  will  more  easily  increase  ;  the 
productions  in  our  gardens  will  have  more  vigor ;  the 
trees  will  produce  more  beautiful  fruit ;  and  the  human 
mind,  in  possession  of  this  agent,  will  perhaps  present 
to  Nature  effects  still  more  wonderful.  Who  can  know 
how  far  its  influence  may  extend?" 

One  might  imagine  that  one  here  read  some  of  those 
dreams  of  the  middle  ages ;  but  all  these  pompous 
promises,  and  the  prospects  which  they  gave  rise  to, 
instantly  vanished,  when  a  commission,  at  the  head  of 
which  was  Dr.  Franklin,  had  closely  examined  the 
agency  of  this  magnetism.  The  veil  was  withdrawn, 
and  nothing  has  remained  of  the  whole  deception  ex- 
cept animal  electricity,  and  the  conviction  that  it  can 
be  put  in  activity  by  handling  and  stroking  the  body 
various  ways ;  but  it  is  certain  that,  without  the  help  of 
nervous  weakness  and  enthusiasm,  it  will  never  produce 
these  wonderful  phenomena,  and  that  it  is  still  less  able 
to  prolong  the  life  of  man. 


ANIMAL    MAGNETISM.  21 

It  almost  appears  that  mankind  wish  now  to  abandon 
these  ideas  entirely  to  quacks,  especially  as  the  more 
enlightened  part  make  amends  for  the  failure  of  this  in- 
vention, by  having  found  that  length  of  life  does  not 
consist  in  number  of  days,  but  in  the  use  and  enjoyment 
of  it. 

But  as  it  is  impossible  that  the  one  can  make  up  for 
the  other,  and  as  at  present  our  acquaintance  with  the 
nature  of  organized  life,  and  the  laws  to  which  it  is  sub- 
jected, has  been  enlarged  and  carried  to  greater  perfec- 
tion, it  is  worth  while  to  employ  this  improved  knowledge 
in  examining  a  matter  of  so  much  importance,  and  to 
establish  the  method  of  prolonging  life  in  such  a  manner, 
on  the  principles  of  physics  and  animal  economy,  that 
not  only  a  more  definite  rule  of  life  may  be  thence  de- 
duced, but  also  that  this  object  in  future  may  be  ren- 
dered of  no  use  to  quacks  and  impostors,  who,  as  is  well 
known,  can  carry  on  their  deceptions  within  the  pre- 
cincts of  science  only  so  long  as  they  are  not  enlightened 
by  the  torch  of  accurate  investigation. 


CHAPTER  II. 

Inquiry  into  the  nature  of  the  vital  power  and  the  duration  of  life 
in  general.  Properties  and  laws  of  the  vital  power.  Definition  of 
life.  Vital  consumption  inseparable  consequence  of  vital  opera- 
tion. Term  of  life.  Causes  of  the  duration  of  life.  Eetardation 
of  vital  consumption.  Possibility  of  prolonging  life.  Intensive  and 
extensive  life.  Sleep. 

THE  first  thing  necessary  in  regard  to  the  prolonga- 
tion of  life  must  undoubtedly  be  a  more  intimate  ac- 
quaintance with  the  nature  of  life,  and  in  particular  with 
the  vital  power,  the  grand  cause  of  all  life. 

May  it  not  be  possible,  therefore,  to  investigate  more 
accurately  the  internal  nature  of  that  sacred  flame,  and 
thence  to  discover  by  what  it  can  be  nourished,  and  by 
what  it  is  weakened  ?  I  am  perfectly  sensible  of  the 
boldness  of  this  undertaking.  I  approach  the  sanctum 
sanctorum  of  Nature  ;  and  we  have  too  many  instances 
of  daring  adventurers,  who,  blinded  in  such  attempts, 
were  obliged  to  turn  back  with  confusion ;  and  Hallcr 
himself,  her  most  intimate  confidant,  was  forced  to  ex- 
claim :  — 

No  mortal  being,  howe'er  keen  his  eye, 
Can  into  Nature's  deepest  secrets  pry. 

This,  however,  ought  not*  to  deter  us.  Nature  is,  at 
all  times,  a  kind  mother  ;  she  loves  and  rewards  those 
who  seek  for  her ;  and  though  it  may  not  always  be 


NATURE    OF    THE    VITAL   POWER.  23 

possible  for  us  to  reach  the  perhaps  too  exalted  object 
of  our  aim,  we  may,  nevertheless,  be  certain  to  find,  by 
the  way,  so  much  new  and  interesting  matter  as  will 
amply  reward  us  for  attempting  to  approach  nearer  to 
her.  Let  us  only  beware  of  forcing  ourselves  upon  her 
with  too  rash  and  precipitate  steps;  let  our  minds  be 
unprejudiced  and  open  to  conviction ;  let  our  progress 
be  cautious ;  let  us  ever  be  attentive  to  guard  against 
deception  and  phantoms  of  the  mind  ;  and  let  our  path, 
if  not  the  most  convenient,  be  the  certain  path  of  expe- 
rience and  of  regular  proof;  and  let  us  shun  the  bolder 
flights  of  hypothesis,  which,  in  the  end,  generally  prove 
to  the  world  that  the  wings  which  supported  them  were 
cemented  with  wax.  In  this  path  we  shall,  with  the 
greatest  certainty,  avoid  the  fate  of  those  philosophers 
of  whom  Bacon  says,  with  much  justice,  "  They  a.'e 
night-owls,  who  see  their  visions  in  darkness,  but  be- 
come blind  in  tlie  light  of  experience ;  and  who  per- 
ceive least  that  which  is  clearest."  By  this  path,  and 
with  such  a  disposition  of  mind,  the  friends  of  Nature, 
since  the  time  of  that  great  man,  have  approached 
nearer  to  her  than  any  one  ever  did  before  ;  discoveries 
have  been  made  respecting  her  most  hidden  secrets ; 
and  her  most  concealed  powers  have  been  applied  to 
purposes  which  astonish  the  present  age,  and  which  will 
still  excite  the  wonder  of  posterity.  By  these  means  it 
has  been  possible,  through  indefatigable  research,  even 
without  knowing  the  internal  nature  of  things,  to  de- 
termine and  estimate  her  powers  and  properties  so  ac- 
curately that  we  at  least  have  a  practical  knowledge  of 
them,  and  can  employ  them  for  the  uses  of  life.  The 
mind  of  man  has  thus  been  able  to  subdue  even  un- 


24  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

known  agents  ;  to  direct  them  according  to  pleasure, 
and  render  them  of  utility.  The  magnetic  and  the 
electric  power  are  agents  which  both  elude  our  senses, 
and  whose  nature  will,  perhaps,  remain  eternally  un- 
searchable ;  yet  we  have  rendered  them  so  serviceable 
to  us,  that  by  the  one  we  can  direct  our  course  through 
the  ocean,  and  with  the  other  kindle  our  night-lamp 
while  in  bed. 

I  also,  perhaps,  shall  be  able  to  approach  nearer  to 
Nature  in  the  present  research ;  and  I  flatter  myself 
that  the  following  method  of  treating  my  subject  will  be 
the  most  proper  to  enable  me  to  attain  the  object  I  have 
in  view :  first,  to  define  more  accurately  what  is  meant 
by  life  and  the  vital  power,  and  also  to  establish  their 
properties :  next,  to  consult  Nature  respecting  the  dura- 
tion of  life  in  general,  and  that  of  different  organized 
bodies  in  particular ;  to  collect  and  compare  examples  ; 
and,  from  the  circumstances  and  situations  in  which  the 
life  of  a  created  being  has  a  longer  or  shorter  duration, 
to  draw  a  general  conclusion  in  regard  to  the  most  prob- 
able causes  of  the  shortness  or  long  duration  of  exist- 
ence. After  these  premises,  a  more  rational  and  satis- 
factory answer  may  be  given  to  the  question,  Whether 
and  in  what  manner  the  life  of  man  can  be  prolonged  ? 

What  is  life  ?  and  what  is  the  vital  power  ?  These 
questions  may  be  classed  among  many  of  the  like  kind 
which  occur  to  us  during  our  researches  into  Nature.. 
They  appear  simple ;  relate  to  the  most  common  phe- 
nomena; and  are,  however,  difficult  to  be  answered. 
Wherever  the  philosopher  uses  the  word  Power,  one 
may  always  be  assured  that  he  labors  under  a  difficulty, 
since  he  explains  a  thing  by  a  word  which  is  itself  a 


NATURE    OP    THE    VITAL    POWER.  25 

problem ;  for,  who  has  ever  yet  combined  a  clear  idea 
with  the  word  Power  ?  In  this  manner  has  been  intro- 
duced into  physics  an  infinite  variety  of  powers:  the 
power  of  gravity,  the  power  of  attraction,  the  electric 
power,  the  magnetic  power,  which,  at  bottom,  signify 
nothing  more  than  the  letter  that  expresses  the  unknown 
quantity  in  algebra.  We  must,  however,  have  expres- 
sions for  things  whose  existence  is  undeniable,  though 
their  agency  be  incomprehensible ;  and  I  hope  I  shall 
be  here  permitted  to  use  them,  though  it  is  not  yet  de- 
termined whether  what  I  treat  of  be  really  matter,  or 
only  a  property  of  it. 

The  vital  power  is,  without  dispute,  one  of  the  most 
general,  the  most  incomprehensible,  and  the  most  pow- 
erful of  all  the  powers  of  Nature.  It  fills  and  gives  mo- 
tion to  every  thing ;  and,  in  all  probability,  is  the  graid 
source  from  which  all  the  other  powers  of  the  physical, 
or  at  least  the  organized  world  proceed.  It  is  that 
which  produces,  supports,  and  renews  every  thing ;  by  it 
the  creation,  after  so  many  thousands  of  years,  revives 
every  spring  with  the  same  freshness  and  beauty  as 
when  it  first  came  from  the  hand  of  its  Maker.  It  is 
inexhaustible  and  infinite,  a  real  eternal  emanation  of 
the  Deity.  In  short,  it  is  this  which,  purified  and 
exalted  by  a  more  perfect  organization,  kindles  up  the 
powers  of  thought  and  of  the  soul ;  and  which  gives  to 
rational  beings,  together  with  life,  the  sensation  and 
enjoyment  of  it.  For  I  have  remarked,  that  the  sensa- 
tion of  the  value  and  felicity  of  life  is  always  very  near- 
ly proportioned  to  the  greater  or  less  abundance  of  the 
vital  power ;  and  that,  as  a  certain  overflow  of  it  makes 
one  more  capable  of  action  and  exertion,  and  of  relish- 


26  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

ing  life,  nothing  is  so  capable  as  a  want  of  it  to  produce 
that  misery  and  dejection  which  unfortunately  distin- 
guish the  present  age  so  much. 

By  accurate  observation  of  its  phenomena  in  the  or- 
ganized world,  the  following  properties  and  laws  of  it 
may  be  established :  — 

1st.  The  vital  power  is  the  most  subtle,  the  most  pen- 
etrating, and  the  most  invisible  agent  of  Nature,  with 
which  we  are  as  yet  acquainted.  In  these  respects  it 
exceeds  light,  electricity,  and  magnetism,  to  which,  how- 
ever, it  seems  to  have  the  closest  affinity. 

2nd.  Though  it  pervades  every  thing,  there  are  cer- 
tain modifications  of  matter  to  which  it  appears  to  have 
greater  relationship  than  to  others.  It  unites,  therefore, 
with  these  in  greater  abundance,  as  well  as  in  a  more 
intimate  manner,  and  becomes,  as  it  were,  peculiar  to 
them.  This  modification  of  matter  we  call  organic  com- 
bination, and  structure  of  component  parts ;  and  the 
bodies  which  possess  them  we  call  organized  bodies,  — 
plants  and  animals.  This  organic  structure  seems  to 
consist  in  a  certain  disposition  of  the  finest  particles,  and 
we  here  find  a  remarkable  similarity  of  the  vital  power 
to  that  of  magnetism  ;  as  the  latter,  by  a  stroke  given  to 
a  piece  of  iron,  in  a  certain  direction,  and  which  alters 
the  internal  disposition  of  the  finest  component  parts,  is 
immediately  excited,  and  may  be  again  destroyed  by  a 
contrary  derangement.  That,  at  any  rate,  the  organic 
structure  does  not  lie  in  the  visible  tissue  or  web,  may 
be  seen  in  an  egg,  in  which  no  traces  of  organized  life 
can  be  found,  though  it  is  certain  that  it  there  exists. 

3rd.  It  can  exist  both  in  a  free  and  a  fixed  state ;  and 
in  this  it  has  a  great  resemblance  to  fire  and  electricity. 


NATURE    OF    THE    VITAL    POWER.  27 

As  these  may  reside  in  a  body  without  manifesting  them- 
selves externally  until  they  are  called  forth  by  a  suita- 
ble stimulus,  the  vital  power,  in  like  manner,  may  long 
reside  in  a  fixed  state,  in  an  organized  body,  without  in- 
dicating itself  in  any  other  way  than  by  supporting  and 
preserving  itself  from  dissolution.  Of  this  we  have 
some  astonishing  instances.  A  grain  of  corn  can  retain 
life  in  a  fixed  state  for  years,  and  an  egg  several  months  : 
it  neither  evaporates  nor  corrupts  ;  and  the  stimulus  of 
heat  alone  can  disengage  the  confined  power,  and  call 
forth  the  expansive  principle  of  life.  Nay,  the  already 
expanding  organic  life  can  in  this  manner  be  again 
checked  and  confined,  yet  exist  some  time  in  that  state, 
and  preserve  the  organization  intrusted  to  it,  of  which 
the  polypes  and  animal  plants  in  particular  afford  us 
the  most  remarkable  instances. 

4th.  As  it  seems  to  have  a  different  affinity  to  differ- 
ent organized  bodies,  and  abound  more  in  some  and  less 
in  others,  its  union  with  some  is  likewise  stronger,  and 
with  others  weaker.  And  it  is  worthy  of  remark,  that, 
where  it  abounds  in  the  greatest  quantity  and  perfection, 
it  seems  there  to  be  more  loosely  combined.  To  the 
imperfect,  weak-lived  polype,  for  example,  it  adheres 
with  more  force  than  to  a  more  perfect  animal  in  a 
higher  degree  of  existence.  For  the  present  inquiry 
this  observation  is  of  the  utmost  importance. 

5th.  It  gives  to  every  body  which  it  pervades  an  en-, 
tirely  new  character,  a  specific  superiority  to  other  parts 
of  the  corporeal  world.  In  the  first '  place,  it  renders 
them  susceptible  of  impressions  as  a  stimulus,  and 
makes  them  capable  of  reaction  ;  and,  secondly,  it  frees 
them  from  the  general  physical  and  chemical  laws  of 


28  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

inanimate  nature  :  so  that  one  may  with  propriety  say, 
by  the  assistance  of  the  vital  power  a  body  is  trans- 
ferred from  the  mechanical  and  chemical  world  to  a 
new  one,  the  organic  or  living  world.  Here  the  gen- 
eral physical  laws  of  Nature  have  place  only  in  part, 
and  with  certain  limitations.  All  impressions  in  a  liv- 
ing body  are  modified  and  counteracted  in  a  manner  dif- 
ferent from  what  they  are  in  an  inanimate  body.  In  a 
living  body,  therefore,  no  process  merely  mechanical  or 
chemical  is  possible ;  and  every  thing  assumes  the  char- 
acter of  life.  A  blow,  or  any  stimulus,  cold  and  heat, 
act  in  a  living  body  according  to  laws  altogether  pecu- 
liar ;  and  in  every  effect  thence  produced  must  be  consid- 
ered as  compounded  of  the  external  impression  and  the 
reaction  of  the  vital  power. 

In  this  lie  the  grounds  of  the  peculiarity  of  different 
species,  and  even  of  different  individuals.  We  observe 
daily  that  plants  which  grow  near  each  other  in  the 
same  soil,  and  which  receive  the  very  same  nour- 
ishment, are  widely  different  in  their  form,  sap,  and 
properties.  This  is  the  case  also  in  the  animal  king- 
dom ;  and  hence  the  common  expression,  "  every  one 
has  his  own  peculiar  nature." 

6th.  The  vital  power  is  the  principal  support  of  the 
body  in  which  it  resides.  It  not  only  binds  and  keeps 
together  the  whole  organization,  but  it  counteracts  also, 
very  strongly,  the  destructive  influence  of  the  other 
powers  of  Nature,  so  far  as  they  depend  on  chemical 
laws,  which  it  is  able  to  annihilate,  or  at  least  to  mod- 
ify. Among  these,  I  reckon,  in  particular,  the  effects 
of  putrefaction,  of  the  atmosphere,  and  of  frost.  No 
living  being  putrefies  ;  a  previous  weakening  or  annihi- 


NATURE     OF    THE    VITAL    POWER.  29 

lation  of  the  vital  power  is  always  necessary  in  order 
to  render  corruption  possible.  Even  in  a  fixed  and 
inactive  state,  it  is  able  to  keep  off  corruption.  No- 
egg,  so  long  as  it  contains  the  vital  power ;  no  grain  of 
corn,  no  silk  worm  inclosed  in  its  cocoon,  no  insect  ap- 
parently dead,  corrupts  ;  and  it  is  truly  astonishing  how 
it  can  preserve  bodies  which  have  such  a  strong  ten- 
dency to  putrefaction  as  that  of  man  has,,  for  sixty,, 
eighty,  or  a  hundred  years.  By  its  binding  property  it 
withstands  the  power  of  the  atmosphere,  the  second 
cause  of  destruction,  which,  in  the  end,  dissolves  the- 
hardest  bodies,  and  makes  them  fall  to  pieces.  In  like 
manner,  the  dangerous  excitation  of  the  particles  of  fire 
keeps  off  frost.  No  living  body  freezes  ;  that  is  to  say, 
so  long  as  its  vital  power  is  in  activity,  frost  cannot 
destroy  it.  Amidst  the  ice  mountains  of  the  South  and 
North  pole,  where  all  Nature  appears  to  be  in  a  state 
of  torpor,  one  sees  living  creatures,  and  even  men,  who 
are  not  affected  by  the  general  congelation.*  This 
property  of  the  vital  power  seems  not  confined  merely 
to  its  active,  but  belong  also  to  its  fixed  state.  An 
egg,  or  a  grain  of  corn,  possessed  of  life,  freezes  much 
later  than  one  that  is  dead.  The  bear  passes  the  whole 
winter  half  torpid,  among  the  snow;  the  apparently 
dead  swallow  and  the  pupa?  of  insects  continue  under 
the  ice  without  being  frozen.  When  the  frost  increases 

*  The  galantlms  nivalis,  snowdrop,  pushes  itself  from  the  frozen 
earth  through  the  snow,  and  its  flower  remains  unhurt,  notwith- 
standing the  severe  night  frosts.  Mr.  Hunter  caused  fish  to  be 
frozen  into  water.  As  long  as  they  lived,  the  water,  though 
congealed  everywhere  else,  remained  around  them  fluid,  and 
formed  a  real  hole ;  but  as  soon  as  they  died,  that  part  froze  up 
also. 


30  ART    OF  PROLONGING   LIFE. 

so  much  as  to  weaken  or  oppress  the  vital  power,  it  can 
then,  only,  overcome  it,  and  penetrate  a  living  body. 
This  phenomenon  depends  in  particular  on  that  prop- 
erty which  the  vital  power  possesses,  of  exciting  warmth ; 
as  we  shall  see  hereafter. 

7th.  A  total  loss  of  the  vital  power  is  attended  with 
a  dissolution  of  the  organized  structure  of  the  body 
which  it  before  filled.  The  matter  of  the  body  obeys 
the  laws  and  affinities  of  inanimate  chemical  nature,  to 
which  it  now  belongs;  its  first  principles  are  divided 
and  separated ;  and  corruption,  under  the  usual  circum- 
stances, follows;  which  can  alone  convince  us  that  a 
body  has  been  totally  deprived  of  the  vital  power.  But 
it  is  a  great  and  striking  observation  that  corruption 
itself,  which  seems  to  annihilate  all  life,  must  be  the 
means  of  calling  forth  new  life  again ;  and  that  it  is 
properly  nothing  else  than  a  highly  important  process 
to  disengage  in  the  speediest  manner  the  component 
parts,  no  longer  susceptible  of  life  under  that  form,  and 
to  make  them  fit  for  new  organic  combination  and  life. 
No  sooner  is  a  body  thus  decomposed  than  its  fine  par- 
ticles begin  to  be  again  animated  in  a  thousand  small 
worms,  or  to  display  their  revival  under  the  figure  of 
beautiful  grass  :  the  most  vivid  flowers  recommence,  in 
this  manner,  the  great  circle  of  organic  life ;  and,  by  a 
few  changes,  become  a  year  after  component  parts  per- 
haps of  as  perfect  a  human  being  as  that  with  which 
they  appeared  to  corrupt.  Their  apparent  death  was 
only  a  transition  to  a  new  life ;  and  the  vital  power 
leaves  a  body  only  that  it  may  unite  itself  again  with 
it  in  a  more  perfect  manner. 

8th.  The  vital  power  may  be  weakened,  and  even 


NATURE    OF    THE    VITAL    POWER.  31 

totally  destroyed,  by  certain  causes ;  and  by  others  can 
be  excited,  strengthened,  and  nourished.  Among  those 
which  destroy  it  may  be  reckoned  in  particular  cold,  the 
great  enemy  of  all  life.  A  moderate  degree  of  cold, 
however,  can  be  so  far  strengthening,  as  it  concentrates 
the  vital  power  and  prevents  its  consumption  :  but  this 
strengthening  is  negative,  not  positive  ;  and  a  higher  de- 
gree of  cold  banishes  it  entirely.  In  cold,  no  vital 
expansion  can  take  place  ;  no  egg  can  be  hatched ;  no 
grain  of  corn  shoot  forth. 

To  these  also  belong  certain  derangements  which 
seem  to  have  effect  partly  by  annihilating  the  vital 
power,  and  partly  by  a  destructive  alteration  of  the  in- 
ternal organized  disposition  of  the  particles.  Thus  a 
violent  electric  shock,  or  lightning,  deprives -plants  and 
animals  of  life,  instantaneously,  without  leaving  the 
least  trace  of  their  having  injured  the  organs ;  and  thus 
among  more  perfect  beings  in  particular,  may  the  vital 
power  be  destroyed,  in  a  moment,  by  violent  agitations 
of  the  mind,  such  as  sudden  fear  or  joy. 

Lastly,  there  are  certain  physical  powers  which  are 
highly  capable  of  weakening  and  even  of  annihilating 
it ;  and  these,  therefore,  we  commonly  call  poisons :  as, 
for  example,  the  smallpox  infection,  laurel  water,  the 
essential  oil  of  bitter  almonds,  etc. 

But  there  are  agents  also  of  a  contrary  kind,  which 
have  a  friendship  for,  and  an  affinity  to,  the  vital  power ; 
and  which  are  capable  of  exciting,  invigorating,  and,  in 
great  probability,  of  affording  it  a  subtle  nourishment. 
These,  in  particular,  are,  light,  heat,  and  air,  or  rather 
oxygen,  three  celestial  gifts,  which,  with  great  pro- 
priety, may  be  called  the  friends  and  guardian  spirits 
of  life. 


32  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

LIGHT,  the  first  of  these,  is,  without  doubt,  the  most 
intimate  friend  and  relation  of  life  ;  and,  in  this  respect, 
has  certainly  a  much  more  essential  effect  than  is  com- 
monly believed.  The  life  of  every  created  being  is  the 
more  perfect  the  more  it  enjoys  the  influence  of  light. 
Let  a  plant  or  an  animal  be  deprived  of  light,  notwith- 
standing every  nourishment,  care,  and  cultivation,  it  will 
first  lose  its  color,  then  its  strength,  and  at  last  entirely 
decay.  Even  man,  who  passes  his  life  in  darkness,  be- 
comes pale,  relaxed,  and  heavy,  and  at  length  loses  the 
whole  energy  of  life  ;  as  is  proved  by  the  many  melan- 
choly instances  of  persons  shut  up  in  gloomy  dungeons. 
Nay,  I  do  not  think  I  say  too  much  when  I  assert,  that 
organized  life  is  possible  only  under  the  influence  of 
light,  and  in  all  probability  through  it ;  for  in  the  bowels 
of  the  earth,  in  the  deepest  caverns,  where  eternal  night 
prevails,  nothing  is  seen  but  what  we  call  unorganized 
life.  There  nothing  breathes,  there  nothing  feels  ;  and 
the  only  productions  which  one  finds  are  a  few  kinds  of 
mould  and  stone  moss,  the  first  most  imperfect  degree 
of  vegetation.  For  that  reason,  this  vegetation,  for  the 
most  part,  shows  itself  only  on  old  or  rotten  wood.  The 
expansion  of  organized  life  must,  therefore,  be  here  ex- 
cited by  wood  and  water,  or  by  that  putrefaction  which 
generates  life,  and  which  in  those  abysses  does  not  exist. 

The  second,  no  less  beneficent  friend  of  the  vital 
power,  is  HEAT,  which  is  alone  able  to  call  forth  the 
first  movements  of  life.  When  winter  has  reduced  all 
nature  to  a  deathlike  condition,  let  the  genial  warmth 
of  the  spring  atmosphere  only  breathe  upon  it,  and  all 
its  dormant  powers  are  awakened  to  activity.  The 
nearer  we  approach  the  poles,  every  thing  becomes 


LIGHT   AND   HEAT.  33 

deader,  and  we  at  length  find  districts  where  absolutely 
no  plant,  insect,  or  small  animal  can  exist,  and  where 
only  large  masses  of  being,  such  as  whales,  bears,  and 
the  like,  can  retain  that  warmth  necessary  for  life.  In 
a  word,  where  there  is  life  there  is  heat,  in  a  greater  or 
less  degree ;  and  between  both  there  is  a  very  impor- 
tant and  inseparable  connection.  Warmth  gives  life, 
and  life  again  excites  warmth ;  and  it  seems  difficult  to 
determine  which  is  the  cause,  and  which  the  effect. 

Of  the  extraordinary  power  which  heat  has  to  nour- 
ish and  awaken  life,  the  following  entirely  new  and  de- 
cisive instance  deserves  to  be  mentioned.  On  the  2nd 
of  August,  1790,  a  carabinier,  named  Petit,  threw  him- 
self, entirely  naked,  into  the  Rhine,  from  a  window  of 
the  military  hospital  at  Strasburg.  This  circumstance 
was  observed  about  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  ;  and 
the  body  remained  above  half  an  hour  in  the  water  be- 
fore it  was  drawn  out,  to  all  appearance  perfectly  dead. 
It  was  placed  in  a  bed  thoroughly  warmed,  with  the 
head  raised  up,  the  arms  stretched  out  close  to  it  on 
each  side,  and  the  legs  laid  together.  No  other  process 
was  employed  than  the  application  of  warm  cloths  to 
the  stomach  and  legs.  Warm  stones,  also,  wrapped  up 
in  cloth,  were  placed  in  different  parts  of  the  bed.  In 
the  course  of  seven  or  eight  minutes  a  small  motion  was 
observed  in  the  eyelids.  A  little  while  after,  the  under 
jaw,  which  had  been  fast  locked  to  the.  upper  one,  be- 
came loose ;  the  patient  foamed  at  the  mouth,  and  he 
was  able  to  swallow  a  few  spoonfuls  of  wine.  His  pulse 
now  returned,  #nd  at  the  end  of  an  hour  he  was  able  to 
speak.  Warmth,  in  cases  of  apparent  death,  acts  evi- 
dently with  as  much  power  as  on  the  first  expansion  of 
3 


34  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

life :  it  nourishes  the  smallest  sparks  of  the  vital  princi- 
ple still  remaining;  fans  them,  and  gradually  rouses 
them  into  a  flame. 

The  third  important  nourisher  of  life  is  AIR.  We  find 
no  being  that  can  live  entirely  without  air ;  and  sud- 
den, sometimes  instantaneous,  death  is  to  most  of  them 
the  consequence  of  its  being  withdrawn.  What  makes 
its  influence  highly  visible  is,  that  those  animals  which 
breathe  are  more  abundant  in  the  vital  power,  and  pos- 
sess it  in  greater  perfection,  than  those  which  do  not 
breathe.  Dephlogisticated  or  empyreal  air  appears, 
principally,  to  be  that  component  part  of  our  atmos- 
phere which  affords  the  strongest  and  best  nourishment 
to  the  vital  power ;  and  in  the  present  age,  since  the 
wonder-working  art  of  chemistry  has  taught  us  to  pro- 
duce it  pure,  people,  on  inspiring  it,  have  experienced  a 
general  sensation  of  strengthening  and  invigoration. 
The  grand  principle  of  this  empyreal  or  vital  air  is  by 
chemists  called  oxygen  ;  and  this  component  part  is  that 
properly  which  in  the  air  which  contains  life,  and  passes 
into  the  blood  by  breathing.  Water,  also,  belongs  to 
the  agents  friendly  to  life,  so  far  as  it  contains  oxygen ; 
and  |t  certainly  promotes  life,  for  without  fluidity  no  ex- 
pansion of  life  is  possible. 

I  think  I  may  with  justice,  therefore,  assert,  that 
light,  heat,  and  oxygen  are  the  real  proper  nourishment 
and  sustenance  .of  the  vital  power.  Grosser  kinds  of 
nourishment,  setting  aside  the  quantity  of  oxygen  and 
empyreal  matter  which  they  contain,  seem  to  serve 
rather  for  supporting  the  organs  and  rep.airing  the  con- 
sumption. Were  not  this  the  case,  one  could  not  ex- 
plain how  created  beings  can  maintain  life  so  long  with- 


PROLONGED    ABSTINENCE.  35 

out  nourishment.  Let  us  only  consider  the  chicken  in 
an  egg.  It  lives  without  the  smallest  external  support ; 
expands  itself,  and  becomes  a  perfect  animal.  A  hya- 
cinth, or  any  other  bulbous  plant,  can,  without  the  least 
nourishment  —  except  the  evaporation  of  water — ex- 
pand and  shoot  forth  a  stem  crowned  with  beautiful 
leaves  and  flowers.  Even  among  more  perfect  animals 
we  observe  phenomena  which  would  otherwise  be  inex- 
plicable. Dr.  George  Fordyce,  for  example,  inclosed 
gold  fish  in  vessels  filled  with  well-water ;  gave  them  at 
first  fresh  water  every  twenty-four  hours,  but  afterwards 
only  every  three  days ;  and  yet  they  lived  fifteen  months 
without  any  nourishment,  and,  what  is  more  wonderful, 
became  twice  as  big.  But,  as  it  might  have  been  be- 
lieved that  the  water  contained  a  multitude  of  invisible 
nutritive  particles,  he  distilled  it ;  added  air  to  it  again  ; 
and,  to  prevent  the  introduction  of  insects,  closed  up 
the  vessels  with  great  care.  Notwithstanding  all  this, 
the  fish  lived  a  long  time,  increased  in  size,  and  had  ex- 
cretions. How  is  it  possible  that  man  himself  could 
endure  hunger  so  long  and  yet  retain  life,  if  the  nutri- 
ment of  the  vital  power  were  necessarily  derived  from 
the  substances  by  which  he  is  nourished  ?  A  French 
officer,  after  a  tedious  and  severe  illness,  was  seized 
with  a  mental  disorder,  during  which  he  resolved  to 
starve  himself  to  death ;  and  he  continued  so  firm  to  his 
purpose  that,  for  the  space  of  forty-six  days  he  did  not 
take  the  smallest  grain  of  food.  On  the  fifth  day  he 
asked  only  for  some  distilled  water ;  and  as  half  a  pint 
of  anise-seed  water  was  given  to  him,  he  used  the  whole 
of  it  in  three  days.  His  friends,  however,  having  rep- 
resented to  him  that  this  quantity  was  too  much,  he  put 


36  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

into  each  glass  of  water  that  he  drank  no  more  than 
three  drops  ;  and  in  this  manner  his  half-pint  lasted  till 
the  thirty -ninth  day.  He  then  gave  over  drinking,  and 
for  the  last  eight  days  took  nothing  at  all.  After  the 
thirty-sixth  day  he  was  obliged  to  lie  in  bed ;  and  it  is 
remarkable  that  this  man,  extremely  clean  in  other  re- 
spects, exhaled  during  the  whole  time  of  his  fasting,  a 
very  offensive  smell,  in  consequence  of  the  interrupted 
renovation  of  his  juices,  and  the  corruption  attending 
it ;  and  that  his  eyes  became  weak.  All  advice  proved 
ineffectual,  and  his  friends  gave  him  up  as  lost,  when 
the  voice  of  Nature  was  suddenly  awakened  within  him 
by  an  accident.  He  saw  a  child  with  a  piece  of  bread 
and  butter  enter  the  apartment  where  he  was.  This 
sight  excited  his  appetite  so  much  at  once  that  he  begged 
for  some  soup.  A  few  spoonfuls  of  rice  broth  were  now 
given  him  every  two  hours ;  some  stronger  food  was 
gradually  added  ;  and  his  health,  though  slowly,  was  in 
this  manner  again  wholly  restored.  But  it  is  very  sin- 
gular that  while  he  fasted  and  was  weak,  his  phrensy 
and  wild  imaginations  forsook  him,  and  that  he  answered 
when  addressed  by  his  usual  name ;  but  as  soon  as  he 
had  acquired  strength  by  eating,  his  whole  train  of  in- 
coherent ideas  again  returned.* 

9th.  There  is  still  a  cause  which  tends  to  weaken  and 
diminish  the  vital  power,  and  which  lies  in  itself,  namely, 
the  loss  it  sustains  by  exerting  its  strength.  By  every 
exertion  it  loses  some  of  its  force ;  and  when  these  ex- 
ertions are  too  violent,  or  continued  without  intermis- 
sion, the  consequence  is  that  it  may  be  completely  ex- 
hausted. This  is  proved  by  common  experience,  as  we 

*  See  Hist,  de  1'Acade'mie  Royale  des  Sciences.    'An.  1769. 


NATURE    OP   THE    VITAL    POWER.  37 

find  that,  after  great  exertion  in  walking,  thinking,  etc., 
we  become  fatigued.  It  is  shown  still  more  clearly  by 
the  experiments  of  Galvani,  in  which,  after  death,  a 
muscle  and  nerves,  still  alive,  may  be  irritated  by  the 
application  of  metal.  If  this  irritation  be  often  and 
strongly  repeated,  the  power  will  be  sooner  exhausted ; 
but  if  slowly,  it  will  be  exhausted  later  :  and  even  when 
it  appears  to  be  totally  exhausted,  one,  by  intermitting 
the  irritation  for  some  time,  can  occasion  a  new  accu- 
mulation of  it,  and  produce  fresh  exertions.  Hence 
arises  a  new  means  of  strengthening,  namely,  rest,  or  a 
suspension  of  exertion,  by  which  indeed  the  power  can 
be  accumulated  and  increased. 

10th.  The  most  immediate  functions  of  the  vital 
power  are  not  only  to  receive  impressions,  such  as  irri- 
tation, and  to  react  upon  them,  but  also  to  change  into 
organized  nature  the  component  parts  which  are  added 
to  the  body ;  that  is,  to  unite  them  according  to  the  laws 
of  organization,  and  also  to  give  them  that  structure  and 
form  which  the  end  of  organization  requires. 

llth.  The  vital  power  pervades  all  the  parts  of  an 
organized  living  body,  whether  fluids  or  solids ;  but  it 
manifests  itself  in  different  ways,  according  to  the  differ- 
ence of  the  organs  ;  in  the  nerves,  by  sensibility ;  in  the 
muscles,  by  irritability,  etc.  This  it  does  for  some  time 
visibly  and  without  interruption,  and  is  what  we  name 
generation  or  growth,  until  the  organized  body  has  at- 
tained to  its  destined  degree  of  perfection.  This  plas- 
tic, creative  power,  does  not,  however,  cease  to  act ;  but 
what  was  before  growth,  becomes  now  constant  renova- 
tion ;  and  this  incessant  regeneration  is-  one  of  the  most 
important  means  which  support  the  being. 


38  ART    OF  PROLONGING   LIFE. 

These  observations  on  the  nature  of  this  wonderful 
power  are  sufficient.  It  will  now  be  easier  for  us  to 
speak  in  a  more  precise  manner  on  the  influence 
which  this  power  has  on  life ;  to  explain  what  life 
properly  is ;  and  to  say  something  decisive  concerning 
its  duration. 

LIFE,  in  an  organized  being,  means  the  free  active 
state  of  the  before-mentioned  power,  and  the  activity 
and  efficiency  of  the  organs  inseparably  connected  with 
it.  The  vital  power,  therefore,  is  only  capacity  ;  life 
itself,  action.  Every  life,  consequently,  is  a  continued 
operation  of  the  efficiency  of  the  power  and  of  organic 
exertion.  A  continual  consumption  of  the  power  and 
of  the  organs  is  necessarily  the  immediate  consequence 
of  this  process  ;  and,  on  that  account,  an  incessant  reno- 
vation of  both  is  requisite  in  order  that  life  may  be 
supported.  The  process  of  life  may  then  be  considered 
as  a  continued  process  of  consumption  ;  and  its  essence 
may  be  defined  an  uninterrupted  wasting  and  repara- 
tion of  ourselves.  Life  has  been  already  often  com- 
pared to  a  flame  ;  and  indeed  the  operation  in  both  is  the 
same.  Destructive  and  creative  powers  are  engaged, 
with  never-ceasing  activity,  in  a  continual  struggle 
within  us  ;  and  every  moment  of  our  existence  is  a  sin- 
gular mixture  of  annihilation  and  new  creation.  As 
long  as  the  vital  power  retains  its  freshness  and  energy, 
the  living  plastic  powers  will  have  the  superiority,  aj?d 
afford  it  protection  in  this  contest :  the  body  will  also 
increase  and  approach  nearer  to  perfection.  By 
little  and  little  they  will  balance  each  other,  and, 
the  consumption  becoming  equal  to  the  renovation,  the 
body  will  at  length  decrease.  At  last,  the  vital  power 


NATURE    OP    LIFE.  39 

being  lessened,  and  the  organs  worn  out,  the  consump- 
tion will  begin  to  exceed  the  renovation ;  and  decay, 
degradation,  and,  in  the  end,  a  total  dissolution  will  un- 
avoidably follow.  This  is  universally  the  case.  Every 
created  being  passes  through  three  periods:  that  of 
its  growth,  that  of  its  being  stationary,  and  that  of  its 
decline. 

The  duration  of  life,  in  general,  depends  on  the  fol- 
lowing points :  — 

1.  On  the  quantity  of  the  vital  power  which  resides 
in  the  being.     A  greater  supply  of  the  vital  power  will 
naturally  last  much  longer,  and  be  later  consumed,  than 
a  smaller.     Now  we  know,  from  what  has  been  before 
said,  that  the  vital  power  has  a  greater  affinity  to  some 
bodies,  and  to  others  a  less ;  that  it  abounds  much  more 
in  some  than  in  others ;  and  that  many  external  causes 
tend  to  weaken  it,  and  many  to  nourish  it.     This,  there- 
fore, gives  us  the  first  and  most  important  ground  of  the 
difference  in  the  duration  of  life. 

2.  But,  besides  the  vital  power,  the  organs  also  are 
consumed  and  wasted  by  living ;  and,  consequently,  a 
total  consumption  must  take  place  later  in  a  body  the 
organs  of  which  are  strong,  than  in  one  of  a  delicate 
structure  more  liable  to  dissolution.     Besides,  the  ope- 
ration of  life  itself  requires  the  continual  agency  of  cer- 
tain organs,  which  we  therefore  call  the  vital  organs. 
If  these  be  diseased,  or  unfit  for  use,  life  cannot  continue. 
A  certain  firmness  of  organization,  and  a  proper  con- 
dition of  the  vital  organs,  form  the  second  ground  on 
which  the  duration  of  life  depends. 

3.  The  process  of  consumption  may  be  carried  on 
more   slowly,  or  more  rapidly ;  and,  consequently,  the 


40  ART    OF  PROLONGING    LIFE. 

duration  of  it,  or  what  we  call  life,  even  when  the  pow- 
ers and  organs  are  perfectly  alike,  will  be  longer  or 
shorter  in  proportion  to  the  quickness  or  slowness  of  the 
operation;  just  as  a  candle  lighted  at  both  ends  at  the 
same  time  burns  twice  as  fast  as  one  lighted  in  the 
usual  manner,  or  as  a  light  in  oxygen  gas  is  consumed 
ten  times  faster  than  one  of  the  same  kind  in  common 
air,  because  by  that  medium  the  process  of  consumption 
is  increased  and  accelerated  in  a  tenfold  proportion. 
This  affords  the  third  ground  of  difference  in  the  dura- 
tion of  life. 

4.  As  renovation  of  what  is  lost  and  continual  regen- 
eration are  the  principal  means  of  counteracting  the 
consumption,  those  bodies  which  internally  and  exter- 
nally have  the  best  means  of  regenerating  themselves 
with  most  ease,  and  in  the  greatest  perfection,  will  natu- 
rally be  of  longer  duration  than  those  which  are  desti- 
tute of  that  advantage. 

In  short,  the  duration  of  life  in  a  being  will  be  pro- 
portioned to  the  innate  quantity  of  vital  power,  the 
greater  or  less  firmness  of  its  organs,  the  speedier  or 
slower  consumption,  and  perfect  or  imperfect  restoration. 
All  ideas  on  the  prolongation  of  life,  as  well  as  all  the 
means  which  have  been  or  may  be  proposed  on  that 
subject,  can  be  brought  under  these-  four  classes,  and  be 
examined  upon  these  principles. 

From  these,  several  important  deductions  may  be 
made,  and  several  obscure  questions  may  be  answered, 
of  which  I  shall  only  mention  a  few. 

Is  the  extent  of  life  determined  or  not  ?  This  question 
has  oft  given  rise  to  disputes  in  which  divines  and  phi- 


DURATION    OF    LIFE.  41 

losophers  have  been  divided,  and  which  have  several 
times  brought  the  medical  art  into  great  difficulties.  On 
the  above  principles,  however,  it  may  be  easily  resolved. 
Each  raqe  of  beings,  as  well  as  each  individual,  has  its 
term  of  life  as  certainly  fixed  as  it  has  its  defined  size, 
and  its  proper  quantity  of  vital  power,  strength  of 
organs,  and  means  of  consumption  or  regeneration ;  for 
the  duration  of  life  is  a  consequence  of  that  consump- 
tion, and  can  continue  no  longer  than  power  and  organs 
are  able  to  support  it.  But  this  consumption  may  be 
hastened  or  retarded :  favorable  or  unfavorable,  destruc- 
tive or  beneficial  circumstances  may  have  an  influence 
upon  it ;  and  it  thence  follows  that,  notwithstanding  the 
before-mentioned  natural  determination,  the  limits  of  it 
may  be  altered. 

A  general  answer  may  now  be  given  also  to  the  fcl- 
lowing  question :  Is  it  possible  to  prolong  life  ?  Un- 
doubtedly it  is ;  but  not  by  magical  cures  or  gold  tinc- 
tures ;  nor  can  we  hope  to  increase  the  quantity  and 
efficacy  of  the  vital  power  which  has  been  dispensed  to 
us,  or  to  alter  the  whole  determination  of  Nature. 
Whatever  is  done  must  be  effected  by  proper  attention 
to  the  above  four  points,  on  which  the  duration  of  life 
properly  depends ;  by  strengthening  the  vital  power 
and  the  organs  ;  by  retarding  consumption,  and  by  pro- 
moting or  facilitating  renovation  or  regeneration.  The 
more  food,  clothing,  manner  of  living,  climate,  and  even 
artificial  means  are  favorable  to  these  requisites,  the 
more  influence  they  will  have  in  the  prolongation  of 
life  ;  the  more  they  counteract  these,  the  more  will  they 
shorten  the  duration  of  existence. 

What  I  call  retardation  of  vital  consumption,  as  being, 


42  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

in  my  opinion,  the  most  important  means  of  prolonging 
life,  deserves  here,  in  a  particular  manner,  to  be  con- 
sidered. If  we  suppose  that  each  body  is  possessed  of 
a  certain  quantity  of  vital  power,  and  certain  organs 
which  make  as  it  were  our  stock  of  life,  and  that  life 
consists  in  a  consumption  of  them,  it  must  be  allowed 
that  this  stock  may  be  naturally  consumed  by  a  stronger 
exertion  of  the  organs,  and  by  the  speedier  wasting 
which  is  connected  with  it.  He  who  in  a  day  consumes 
twice  as  much  of  the  vital  power  as  another,  will  ex- 
haust his  stock  sooner ;  and  organs  used  with  double 
force  will  in  half  the  time  be  worn  out  and  become 
useless.  The  energy  of  life,  therefore,  will  be  in  an  in- 
verse ratio  with  its  duration  ;  or  the  more  intensively  a 
being  lives,  the  more  will  its  life  lose  in  extension.  The 
expression,  fast  living,  which,  as  well  as  the  thing  itself, 
is  at  present  so  common,  is  not  then  altogether  improper. 
One  may  certainly  make  the  process  of  vital  consump- 
tion, whether  it  consists  in  labor  or  enjoyment,  more  or 
less  rapid,  and  thus  live  either  fast  or  slowly.  In  fu- 
ture I  shall  distinguish  the  one  by  the  expression  inten- 
sive life,  and  the  other  by  that  of  extensive  life.  This 
truth  is  confirmed,  not  only  among  men,  but  also  through- 
out all  nature.  The  less  intensive  the  life  of  a  being  is, 
the  longer  will  be  its  duration.  If  the  intensive  life  of 
a  plant  be  increased  by  heat,  manure,  and  artificial 
means,  it  will  expand  itself  to  perfection  more  rapidly, 
but  it  will  also  soon  decay.  Even  a  being  which  natu- 
rally possesses  an  abundant  stock  of  vital  power  will, 
when  its  life  is  intensively  active,  be  of  shorter  duration 
than  another  less  abundant  in  vital  power,  but  which 
has  by  nature  a  life  less  intensive.  Thus  it  is  certain, 


INTENSIVE    AND    EXTENSIVE     LIFE.  43 

for  example,  that  the  higher  classes  of  animals  have  the 
vital  power  in  far  greater  quantity  and  perfection  than 
vegetables ;  yet  a  tree  lives  a  hundred  times  as  long  as 
the  spirited  horse,  because  the  life  of  the  tree  is  inten- 
sively weaker.  In  this  manner,  weakening  circum- 
stances, when  they  only  lessen  the  intensive  activity  of 
life,  may  be  the  means  of  prolonging  it ;  and,  on  the 
other  hand,  influences  which  strengthen  and  excite  life, 
when  they  increase  the  internal  activity  too  much,  may 
be  prejudicial  to  its  duration.  Hence  it  is  evident  how 
very  sound  health  may  shorten  the  duration  of  life,  and 
a  certain  kind  of  weakness  be  the  best  means  of  pro- 
longing it ;  and  that  the  diet  and  means  used  for  length- 
ening life,  cannot  be  altogether  those  which  are  com- 
monly called  corroborative.  In  this  respect,  Nature 
herself  gives  us  the  best  lesson,  as  she  has  connected 
with  the  existence  of  every  more  perfect  being,  a  cer- 
tain regulation  which  is  able  to  check  the  stream  of  its 
vital  consumption,  and  thereby  prevent  too  rapid 
wasting.  I  here  allude  to  sleep,  a  condition  which 
takes  place  in  every  animal  of  a  perfect  kind :  a  dispo- 
sition of  the  utmost  wisdom,  which,  in  directing  and 
retarding  the  vital  consumption,  acts  in  the  same  man- 
ner as  the  pendulum  of  a  clock.  The  time  of  sleep 
is  nothing  else  than  a  suspension  of  intensive  life,  or  an 
apparent  loss  of  it ;  but  even  in  this  suspension,  this 
interruption  of  its  activity,  lies  one  of  the  greatest 
means  of  preserving  it.  A  twelve  or  sixteen  hours' 
uninterrupted  continuation  of  intensive  life,  causes  such 
an  impetuous  stream  of  consumption  as  produces  a  more 
violent  pulse,  a  kind  of  general  fever,  the  so-called  daily 
evening  fever.  Sleep  then  comes  to  the  relief  of  the 


44  ART    OP    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

body ;  reduces  it  to  a  more  passive  condition ;  and  after 
a  seven  or  eight  hours'  pause  of  this  kind,  the  destruc- 
tive stream  of  vital  consumption  is  so  much  checked  ; 
what  has  been  lost  is  so  fully  renewed,  that  pulsation 
and  all  its  other  movements  are  again  performed  slowly 
and  regularly,  and  every  thing  proceeds  with  a  peace- 
ful course  as  before.*  Nothing,  therefore,  is  able  to 
waste  and  destroy  us  so  speedily  as  long  continued 
want  of  sleep.  Trees  even,  those  Nestors  of  the  vege- 
table kingdom,  without  the  annual  sleep  of  winter, 
would  not  be  able  to  preserve  their  lives  so  long.f 

*  Old  people,  therefore,  sleep  less,  because  their  intensive  life, 
or  vital  consumption,  is  weaker,  and  requires  less  restoration. 

t  In  many  plants  we  even  find  something  which  may  with 
great  propriety  be  compared  to  the  daily  sleep  of  man.  Their 
leaves  every  evening  are  contracted,  or  droop ;  their  flowers  shut 
themselves  up,  and  their  whole  external  appearance  displays  a 
state  of  rest  and  repose.  Some  have  ascribed  this  to  the  coolness 
and  moisture  of  the  evening ;  but  the  same  thing  takes  place  also 
in  the  greenhouse.  Others  have  considered  it  as  a  consequence 
of  darkness  ;  but  many  shut  themselves  up  in  summer  at  six 
o'clock  in  the  afternoon.  Nay,  the  tragopogon  luteiim  shuts  itself 
up  so  early  as  nine  in  the  morning ;  and  this  plant,  therefore, 
gives  us  reason  to  compare  it  to  certain  night  birds  and  beasts  of 
the  animal  world,  which  are  active  only  during  the  night,  and 
sleep  in  the  daytime.  Every  hour  of  the  day,  even,  has  some 
plant  which  then  shuts  itself  up,  and  on  this  is  founded  what  is 
called  a,  plant-dial. 


CHAPTER    III. 

Duration  of  the  life  of  plants  ;  diversity  of  it.  Annual,  biennial, 
perennial.  Experiments  respecting  circumstances  by  which  this 
is  determined;  result  of  them.  Application  of  the  fundamental 
principles  of  the  duration  of  life.  Great  influence  of  attention  and 
culture  on  the  duration  of  the  life  of  plants. 

IN  order  to  prove  and  confirm  what  has  been  before 
said,  let  me  now  be  permitted  to  take  a  view  of  all  the 
classes  of  the  organized  world,  and  endeavor  to  estab- 
lish on  solid  principles  what  I  have  asserted.  This  will 
give  us  an  opportunity  of  becoming  acquainted  with  the 
most  important  collateral  circumstances  which  have  an 
influence  in  prolonging  or  shortening  life.  How  infi- 
nitely various  is  the  duration  of  the  different  organized 
beings !  Between  the  mould,  which  lives  only  a  couple 
of  hours,  and  the  cedar,  which  can  attain  to  the  age  of  a 
thousand  years,  what  a  difference  ;  how  numberless  the 
intermediate  degrees  ;  what  a  variety  of  life !  The 
grounds,  however,  of  this  longer  or  shorter  duration 
must  lie  in  the  structure  of  each  being.  This  is  an  im- 
portant and  interesting  circumstance,  but  at  the  same 
time  of  the  utmost  extent.  I  must,  therefore,  content 
myself  with  deducing  from  it  the  principal  data,  and 
exhibiting  them  in  our  present  point  of  view. 

In  this  respect,  plants,  that  immense  world  of  crea- 
tion, that  first  degree  of  organized  beings  which  nourish 
themselves  by  internal  appropriation,  form  an  indi- 


46  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

vicinal  and  propagate  their  race,  first  present  them- 
selves to  our  view.  What  infinite  variety  of  shape, 
organization,  size,  and  duration  !  According  to  the  latest 
discoveries  and  calculations,  they  amount  to  forty  thou- 
sand genera  and  species  at  least ! 

They  may  all,  however,  be  reduced,  according  to  their 
duration  of  life,  into  three  principal  classes :  annual,  or 
properly  only  semi-annual,  which  grow  up  in  spring,  and 
die  in  autumn ;  biennial,  which  die  at  the  end  of  the 
second  year;  and,  lastly,  perennial,  the  duration  of 
which  extends  from  four  to  a  thousand  years. 

All  plants  of  a  soft  watery  constitution,  and  which 
have  fine  tender  organs,  have  a  short  life,  and  last  only 
one  or  at  most  two  years:  those  alone  which  have 
stronger  organs  and  tougher  juices  exist  longer;  but 
wood  is  absolutely  necessary  in  order  to  attain  to  the 
highest  degree  of  vegetable  existence. 

Even  among  those  which  live  only  one  or  two  years 
a  remarkable  difference  may  be  observed.  Those  which 
are  of  a  cold  insipid  nature,  and  destitute  of  smell,  live, 
under  like  circumstances,  not  so  long  as  the  strong- 
scented,  balsamic  plants,  which  contain  more  essential 
oil  and  spirits.  Lettuce,  wheat,  oats,  barley,  and  all 
kinds  of  corn,  live  no  more  than  'a  year ;  but,  on  the 
other  hand,  thyme,  mint,  hyssop,  balm,  wormwood,  mar- 
joram, sage,  etc.,  can  live  two  years,  and  even  longer. 

Shrubs  and  small  trees  can  live  sixty  years,  and  some 
even  twice  that  number.  The  vine  attains  to  sixty  or 
a  hundred  years,  and  continues  fruitful  at  the  greatest 
•  age.  This  is  the  case  also  with  rosemary.  The  acan- 
thus and  ivy,  however,  can  exceed  the  age  of  a  hundred. 
Among  many,  such,  for  example,  as  the  different  kinds 


LIFE    IN    THE    VEGETABLE    KINGDOM.  47 

of  rubus,*  it  is  difficult  to  determine  the  age,  as  the 
branches  creep  along  the  ground,  and  always  form  new 
plants,  so  that  it  is  almost  impossible  to  distinguish  the 
new  from  the  old  ;  and  by  these  means  they  make  their 
existence  as  it  were  perennial. 

Those  which  attain  to  the  highest  age  are  the  great- 
est, strongest,  and  hardest  trees ;  such  as  the  oak,  the 
lime-tree,  the  beech,  the  chestnut,  the  elm,  the  plane- 
tree,  the  cedar,  the  olive,  the  palm,  the  mulberry-tree, 
and  the  baobab.f  We  may  with  certainty  affirm,  that 
some  of  the  cedars  of  Lebanon,  the  celebrated  chestnut- 
tree  di  centi  cavalli  in  Sicily,  and  several  of  the  sacred 
oaks  under  which  the  ancient  Germans  performed  their 
religious  ceremonies,  may  have  attained  to  the  age  of  a 
thousand  years  and  more.  These  are  the  most  venera- 
ble, the  only  now  existing  testimonies  of  the  ancient 
world,  and  inspire  us  with  reverence  and  awe  when  the 
rustling  wind  plays  through  their  silvery  locks,  which 
once  served  to  overshade  the  Druids  and  our  wild  an- 
cestors clothed  in  their  bearskins. 

All  trees  of  a  rapid  growth,  such  as  the  fir,  the  birch, 
the  horse-chestnut,  and  the  like,  yield  always  less  solid 
and  durable  wood,  and  the  period  of  their  existence  is 
shorter.  The  oak,  which  is  the  slowest  in  growing  of 

*  Common  bramble,  blackberry,  raspberry. 

t  This  newly  discovered  tree  (Adansonia  digitata)  seems  to  be 
one  of  those  which  live  to  the  greatest  age.  Its  trunk  acquires 
the  thickness  of  twenty-five  feet  in  diameter ;  and  Adanson,  in 
the  middle  of  the  present  century,  found  trees  only  six  feet  in  di- 
ameter, which  had  cut  on  them  the  names  of  seafaring  people 
who  had  visited  them  in  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries,  yet 
these  incisions  had  become  very  little  extended. 


48  ART    OF    PROLONGING   LIFE. 

all,  has  the  hardest  wood,  and  its  life  is  of  the  longest 
duration. 

Smaller  vegetables  have,  in  general,  a  shorter  life 
than  those  which  are  large,  tall,  and  spreading. 

Those  trees  which  have  the  hardest  and  most  durable 
wood  are,  however,  not  always  those  which  live  longest. 
The  beech,  for  example,  the  cypress,  the  juniper,  the 
walnut,  and  the  pear-tree,  do  not  live  so  long  as  the 
lime-tree,  though  its  wood  be  softer. 

Those  which  produce  juicy,  tender,  and  delicate  fruit, 
are,  in  general,  shorter-lived  than  those  which  are  bar- 
ren, or  which  bear  fruit  entirely  useless.  And  among 
the  former,  those  which  bear  nuts  or  acorns  become 
older  than  those  which  produce  berries  and  fruit  with 
stones. 

Even  these  short-lived  trees,  the  apple,  the  pear,  the 
apricot,  the  peach,  the  cherry,  etc.,  can,  under  very  fa- 
vorable circumstances,  prolong  their  life  to  sixty  years  ; 
especially  when  they  are  freed  from  the  moss  which 
grows  upon  them. 

We  may  establish  it  as  a  general  rule,  that  those  trees 
which  are  long  in  producing  leaves  and  fruit,  and  which 
also  do  not  soon  lose  them,  become  older  than  those  in 
which  both  these  changes  take  place  speedily.  Those, 
likewise,  which  are  cultivate'd,  have,  in  general,  a  shorter 
existence  than  those  which  grow  wild ;  and  those  which 
produce  sour,  harsh  fruit,  live  longer  than  those  which 
produce  sweet. 

It  is  highly  worthy  of  remark,  that  when  the  earth  is 
dug  up  every  year  around  the  roots  of  a  tree,  it  becomes 
more  vigorous  and  fruitful ;  but  the  duration  of  its  life 


LIFE    IN    THE    YEGETABLE    KINGDOM.  49 

is  shortened.  On  the  other  hand,  if  this  be  done  only 
every  five  or  ten  years,  it  will  live  the  longer.  In  the 
like  manner,  frequent  watering  and  manuring  promotes 
fruitfulness,  but  it  injures  the  duration  of  life. 

One,  also,  by  frequently  lopping  off  the  branches  and 
buds,  may  contribute  very  much  to  the  duration  of  the 
life  of  a  shrub ;  so  that  small,  shortlived  plants,  such  as 
lavender,  hyssop,  and  the  like,  if  annually  pruned,  may 
prolong  their  life  to  the  age  of  forty  years. 

It  is  also  to  be  remarked,  that  when  one  turns  up  the 
earth,  which  has  remained  long  untouched  and  un- 
changed, around  the  roots  of  old  trees,  and  makes  it 
softer  and  looser,  they  will  produce  fresher  and  more 
vigorous  leaves,  and  become,  as  it  were,  again  young. 

When  we  consider  with  attention  these  observations, 
derived  from  experience,  it  is  perfectly  evident  how  much 
they  confirm  the  above  established  principles  of  life  and 
vital  duration,  and  that  they  coincide  perfectly  with 
these  ideas. 

Our  first  grand  principle  was  :  the  greater  the  quantity 
of  vital  power,  and  the  solidity  of  the  organs,  the  longer 
will  be  the  duration  of  life  ;  and  we  now  find  in  Nature 
that  the  greatest,  the  most  perfect,  and  the  best-formed 
productions,  in  which,  also,  we  must  allow  the  greatest 
abundance  of  the  vital  power,  and  those  which  have  the 
strongest  and  most  durable  organs,  are  precisely  those 
which  enjoy  the  longest  life ;  as,  for  example,  the  oak 
and  the  cedar. 

The  bulk  of  the  corporeal  mass  evidently  appears  here 
to  contribute  to  the  duration  of  life,  and  on  the  three  fol- 
lowing grounds :  — 

4 


50  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

I.  Bulk  shows  a  greater  provision  of  the  vital  or  plas- 
tic power. 

II.  Bulk  gives  more  vital   capacity,  more   surface, 
more  external  access. 

III.  The  greater  mass  a  body  has,  the  more  time  is 
required  before  it  can  be  wasted  by  its  external  and  in- 
ternal consumptive  and  destructive  powers. 

We,  however,  find  that  a  plant  may  have  very  strong 
and  durable  organs,  and  yet  not  live  so  long  as  one  the 
organs  of  which  are  of  less  solidity.  Of  this  we  have  an 
instance  in  the  lime-tree,  which  lives  much  longer  than 
the  beech  or  the  cypress. 

This  now  leads  to  a  law  of  the  utmost  importance  for 
organized  life  and  our  future  research ;  which  is,  that, 
in  the  organic  world,  a  certain  degree  only  of  solidity 
promotes  the  duration  of  life,  and  that  too  high  a  degree 
of  tenacity  shortens  it.  In  general,  however,  and  among 
unorganized  beings,  it  is  undoubtedly  certain,  that  the 
more  solid  a  body  is,  the  greater  will  be  its  duration ; 
but  in  organized  beings,  where  the"  duration  of  existence 
consists  in  continual  activity  of  the  organs  and  circula- 
tion of  the  juices,  this  observation  is  limited,  and  too 
great  a  degree  of  solidity  in  the  organs,  and  toughness 
in  the  juices,  makes  them  sooner  immovable  and  unfit 
for  discharging  their  functions,  produces  obstructions, 
and  brings  on  premature  old  age,  and  even  death. 

It  is  not,  however,  merely  on  the  quantity  of  the 
power  and  the  organs  that  the  vital  power  depends. 
We  have  already  seen  that  a  great  deal,  in  particular, 
depends  on  the  speedier  or  slower  consumption,  and  on 


LIFE    IN   THE    VEGETABLE    KINGDOM.  51 

perfect  or  more  imperfect  restoration.  Is  this,  there- 
fore, confirmed  in  the  vegetable  kingdom  ? 

It  is,  in  the  fullest  manner ;  and  we  here  find  this 
general  law :  the  more  intensive  life  a  plant  has,  the 
stronger  and  speedier  is  its  internal  consumption,  the 
sooner  it  decays,  and  the  shorter  is  its  duration :  on  the 
other  hand,  the  more  capacity  a  plant  has,  either  inter- 
nally or  externally,  to,  regenerate  itself,  the  longer  it 
will  preserve  its  existence. 

I  shall  now  proceed  to  treat,  in  the  first  place,  on  the 
law  of  consumption.  Plants  in  general  have  a  very 
weak  intensive  life,  which  consists  only  in  the  functions 
of  growth,  propagation,  and  receiving  nourishment. 
They  are  subject  to  no  arbitrary  changing  of  place,  no 
regular  circulation,  no  muscular  or  nervous  motion. 
The  function  of  generation  is,  beyond  dispute,  the  high- 
est degree  of  their  internal  consumption,  the  utmost 
stretch  of  their  intensive  life.  But  how  speedily  is  it 
followed  by  decomposition  and  annihilation!  Nature 
appears  here  to  make,  as  it  were,  the  greatest  exertion 
of  her  plastic  power,  and  to  show  the  ne  plus  ultra  of  the 
highest  finishing  and  of  bringing  to  perfection. 

What  tenderness  and  delicacy  in  the  structure  of  the 
flower ;  what  elegance  and  splendor  of  colors  astonish 
us  often  in  the  most  inconsiderable  plant,  to  which  we 
never  could  have  ascribed  such  expansion.  These  are, 
as  it  were,  the  dress  of  ceremony,  with  which  the  plant 
celebrates  its  greatest  festival,  but  with  which  it  also 
often  exhausts  its  whole  stock  of  vital  power,  either  for 
ever,  or  at  least  for  a  long  time. 

All  plants,  without  exception,  lose,  immediately  after 
this  catastrophe,  the  vigor  of  vegetation ;  and  begin  to 


52  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

be  stationary,  which  is  the  commencement  of  their  dis- 
solution. In  all  annual  plants  complete  death  follows ; 
among  the  larger  plants  and  trees,  a  temporal  death  at 
least,  or  a  torpor  of  half  a  year,  until,  by  the  great 
strength  of  their  regenerating  power,  they  are  again  put 
in  a  condition  to  shoot  forth  new  leaves  and  flowers. 

On  the  same  principles  it  may  be  explained,  how  all 
plants  which  acquire  early  the  power  of  generation  die 
also  soonest ;  and  it  is  an  invariable  law  for  the  dura- 
tion of  life  in  the  vegetable  kingdom,  that  the  earlier 
and  speedier  a  plant  comes  to  flower,  the  shorter  time 
will  its  life  continue ;  but  the  later  it  flowers,  its  exist- 
ence will  be  of  the  longer  duration.  All  those  which 
flower  immediately,  the  first  year,  die  also  the  same 
year;  and  those  which  flower  for  the  first  time  the 
second  year,  die  also  the  second.  Those  trees  only,  and 
woody  shrubs,  which  first  begin  to  generate  in  the  sixth, 
ninth,  or  twelfth  year,  become  old ;  and  among  these, 
those  genera  which  arrive  latest  at  the  period  of  propa- 
gation become  likewise  the  oldest.  A  highly  important 
observation,  which,  in  part,  fully  confirms  my  ideas  of 
consumption,  and  gives  an  instructive  hint  in  regard  to 
our  future  research. 

An  answer  may  now  be  given  to  that  important  ques- 
tion, What  influence  has  cultivation  on  the  longer  or 
shorter  duration  of  the  life  of  plants  ? 

Culture  and  art,  upon  the  whole,  shorten  life ;  and  it 
may  be  admitted  as  a  fundamental  principle,  that  in  gen- 
eral all  wild  plants,  left  to  themselves,  live  longer  than 
those  which  are  cultivated.  Every  kind  of  culture,  how- 
ever, does  not  shorten  life ;  for,  by  careful  attention,  a 
plant  which  lives  only  one  or  two  years  in  the  open  air, 


EFFECTS    OF    CULTIVATION.  53 

may  be  preserved  much  longer :  and  this  is  a  very  re- 
markable proof,  that,  even  in  the  vegetable  kingdom,  it 
is  possible  to  prolong  life  by  a  certain  kind  of  treatment. 
But  the  question  now  is,  In  what  consists  the  difference 
of  that  culture  which  prolongs  life,  and  that  which  short- 
ens it  ?  This  may  be  of  importance  to  us  in  the  follow- 
ing research,  and  may  be  referred  to  our  first  fundamen- 
tal principle.  The  more  cultivation  strengthens  intensive 
life  and  internal  consumption,  and  at  the  same  time 
makes  the  organization  more  delicate,  the  more  is  it  pre- 
judicial to  the  duration  of  life.  This  we  observe  to  be 
the  case  in  all  hothouse  plants,  which,  by  warmth,  ma- 
nure, and  other  arts,  are  forced  to  a  continual  internal 
activity ;  so  that  they  produce  earlier,  oftener,  and  more 
exquisite  fruit  than  is  natural  for  them.  The  case  is 
the  same,  when,  without  forcing,  by  external  causes,  a 
higher  degree  of  perfection  and  delicacy  than  belonged 
to  its  nature  is  communicated  to  the  internal  organiza- 
tion of  a  plant,  merely  by  certain  operations  and  arts, 
such,  for  example,  as  ingrafting,  propping,  and  the  art 
used  in  regard  to  full  flowers.  This  kind  of  culture 
shortens  the  duration  also. 

Cultivation,  on  the  other  hand,  may  be  the  greatest 
means  of  prolonging  life,  if  it  do  not  strengthen  the  in- 
tensive life  of  a  plant,  or  if  it  retard  and  moderate  in 
any  manner  its  internal  consumption ;  if  it  lessen  the 
too  great  natural  toughness  or  hardness  of  the  organs  or 
matter  to  such  a  degree  that  they  continue  longer  plia- 
ble and  proper  for  their  functions ;  and  if  it  keep  off 
destructive  influences,  and  supply  it  with  better  means 
of  regeneration.  Thus,  by  the  help  of  culture,  a  being 


54  .         ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

may  attain  to  a  greater  extent  of  life  than  it  could  have 
acquired  according  to  its  natural  state  and  destination. 

The  duration  of  the  life  of  plants  may  be  prolonged, 
therefore,  in  the  three  following  ways :  — 

1st.  If,  by  often  pruning  the  branches,  we  guard 
against  too  rapid  consumption.  By  these  means  we  de- 
prive the  plant  of  a  part  of  those  organs  by  which  it 
would  exhaust  too  speedily  its  vital  power,  and  we  con- 
centrate the  power  as  it  were  within  it. 

2nd.  If  we  thereby  check,  or  at  least  retard  its  flower- 
ing, and  prevent  a  waste  of  the  power  of  generation. 
This,  we  know,  is  the  highest  degree  of  vital  consump- 
tion among  plants ;  and  we  thus  doubly  contribute  to 
the  prolongation  of  life  —  first,  by  preventing  this  power 
from  being  exhausted;  and,  secondly,  by  obliging  it  to 
return  back  and  to  act  as  a  means  of  support  or  nourish- 
ment. 

3rd.  If  we  keep  off  the  destructive  influence  of  frost, 
the  want  of  nourishment,  and  an  irregular  atmosphere, 
and  preserve  it  by  art,  in  an  uniform,  moderate,  mean 
condition.  Though  we  hereby  somewhat  increase  the 
intensive  life,  we  nevertheless  create  a  richer  source  of 
regeneration. 

Lastly,  the  fourth  grand  point  on  which  the  duration 
of  every  being,  and  also  of  a  plant,  depends,  is  its  greater 
or  less  capacity  to  restore  itself  and  to  renew  its  parts. 

In  this  respect,  the  vegetable  world  may  be  divided 
into  two  grand  classes.  The  first  do  not  possess  this 
capacity;  and  these  are  the  annual  plants,  or  those 
which  live  only  a  year,  and  which  die  immediately  aft/er 
they  have  performed  the  function  of  generation. 


EXTENSION    OF    LIFE    IN    PLANTS.  55 

The  second  class,  on  the  other  hand,  which  possess 
this  great  faculty  of  regenerating  themselves  annually ; 
of  producing  new  leaves,  branches,  and  flowers,  can  at- 
tain to  the  astonishing  age  of  a  thousand  years  and 
upwards.  Such  plants  may  be  considered  as  organized 
masses  of  earth,  from  which  an  immense  number  of 
plants,  but  perfectly  analogous  to  each  mass,  spring  out 
every  year.  And  in  this  regulation  the  wisdom  of  Na- 
ture appears  great  and  divine. 

When  we  reflect  that,  as  experience  teaches  us,  a 
period  of  eight  or  ten  years  is  required  in  order  to  pro- 
duce that  degree  of  perfection  in  the  organs  and  in  the 
purification  of  the  juices  necessary  in  a  tree  before  it  can 
bring  forth  flowers  and  fruit,  if  it  were  subjected  to  the 
same  laws  of  decay  as  other  vegetable  productions,  and 
if  a  tree  died  immediately  after  it  had  generated,  ho^v 
ill-rewarded  would  the  culture  of  it  be ;  and  how  little 
proportion  would  the  expense  of  preparation  and  time 
bear  to  the  result !  In  such  a  case,  fruit  indeed  would 
be  uncommon. 

To  guard  against  this,  Nature  has  wisely  established, 
that  the  first  plant  acquires  gradually  such  a  consistence 
and  solidity  that,  at  last  the  place  of  the  earth  is  sup- 
plied by  the  trunk,  from  which  an  abundance  of  new 
plants  spring  out  every  year  under  the  form  of  buds  and 
buttons. 

By  this  a  double  advantage  is  obtained.  First,  be- 
cause these  plants  spring  from  a  mass  of  earth  already 
organized,  they  immediately  receive  juices  assimilated 
and  prepared,  and  can  therefore  employ  them  in  the 
production  of  flowers  and  fruit,  which  with  sap  derived 
immediately  from  the  earth  would  be  impossible. 


56  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

Secondly,  these  delicate  plants,  which  in  reality  we 
may  consider  as  so  many  annuals,  die  again  after  the 
process  of  fructification  is  completed,  and  yet  the  vege- 
table itself,  or  the  stem,  continues  perennial.  Nature, 
therefore,  remains  here  true  to  her  fundamental  law, 
that  the  function  of  generation  exhausts  the  vital  power 
of  single  individuals,  and  yet  the  whole  is  perennial. 

In  a  word,  the  result  of  all  these  observations  is,  that 
the  great  age  of  a  plant  depends  on  •  the  following 
points :  — 

I.  It  must  grow  slowly. 

II.  It  must  propagate  itself  slowly,  and  late. 

III.  It  must  have  a  certain  degree  of  solidity  and 
duration  in  its  organs,  a  sufficiency  of  wood,  and  the  sap 
must  not  be  too  watery. 

IV.  It  must  be  large,  and  have  considerable  exten- 
sion. 

V.  It  must  rise  into  the  atmosphere. 

By  the  contrary  of  all  these  the  duration  of  life  is 
shortened. 


CHAPTER    IV. 

Duration  of  life  in  the  animal  world.  Observations  on  plant-animals. 
Worms.  Insects.  Metamorphosis  an  important  means  of  prolong- 
ing life.  Amphibia.  Fish.  Birds.  Animals  which  suckle.  Re- 
sult. Influence  of  maturity  and  growth  on  the  duration  of  life. 
Perfection  or  imperfection  of  organization.  Rapid  or  slow  vital 
consumption.  Restoration. 

THE  animal  kingdom,  or  second  grand  class  of  the 
more  perfect  part  of  the  organized  world,  is  immensely 
rich  in  being,  and  in  variety  and  diversity  of  duration. 
Between  the  elephant,  which  attains  to  the  age  of  a  hun- 
dred years,  and  the  ephemeron,  that  small  perishable 
insect,  which  exists  scarcely  a  day,  and  which  in  the 
twentieth  hour  of  its  life  is  an  experienced  veteran 
among  its  numerous  posterity,  there  are  innumerable 
intermediate  degrees  of  vital  capacity  and  duration ;  but 
amidst  this  vast  abundance  I  shall  content  myself  with 
collecting  only  such  data  as  may  serve  to  illustrate  our 
principal  question,  On  what  does  the  duration  of  life  de- 
pend? 

To  begin  with  worms,  the  most  imperfect  class  of  all, 
which  approach  very  near  to  plants ;  these,  on  account 
of  their  tender,  soft  nature,  can  be  injured  and  destroyed 
with  remarkable  ease  ;  but,  like  plants,  they  have  the 
best  support  in  their  extraordinary  power  of  reproduc- 
tion, by  which  they  can  renew  whole  parts.  Nay,  when 


58        /  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

divided  into  two  or  three  pieces  they  can  still  live,  and 
it  is  consequently  difficult  to  determine  their  duration. 

In  this  class  'there  are  some  animals  which  almost 
appear  to  be  indestructible,  and  with  which  Fontana 
and  Gotze  made  so  many  important  experiments.  The 
former  caused  wheel-insects  and  hair-worms  to  be  dried 
in  the  hot  scorching  sun,  and  to  be  parched  in  an  oven ; 
and  at  the  end  of  half  a  year  he  was  able  to  revive 
these  dried  animals  by  pouring  over  them  a  little  luke- 
warm water. 

These  experiments  confirm  our  position  that  the  more 
imperfect  the  organization,  the  stronger  is  the  life.  The 
case  here  is  the  same  as  in  the  seeds  of  plants  ;  and  one 
may  say  that  these  first  points  of  the  animal  creation 
are,  in  a  certain  measure,  only  the  first  shoots  or  seeds 
for  the  more  perfect  animal  world. 

Among  those  insects  which  have  more  of  the  animal, 
and  a  more  finished  organization,  the  power  pf  repro- 
duction cannot  perform  such  wonders.  But  Nature 
here  has  fallen  upon  another  wise  establishment,  which 
evidently  prolongs  their  existence  ;  I  mean  that  of  meta- 
morphosis or  transformation.  The  insect  exists,  per- 
haps two,  three,  or  four  years,  as  a  larva  or  worm ;  it 
then  becomes  a  pupa  or  nymph,  and  exists  again  in  that 
deathlike  state  a  considerable  time,  at  the  end  of  which 
it  appears  a  completely  finished  being.  It  now  first  has 
eyes,  a  winged,  often  an  elegant  body  ;  and  what  stamps 
it  principally  with  the  mark  of  perfection,  it  is  now  first 
rendered  fit  for  generation.  This  state,  which  may  be 
called  the  time  of  its  bloom,  is,  however,  the  shortest ; 
it  soon  dies  ;  for  it  has  attained  to  the  end  of  its  desti- 
nation. 


DURATION    OF    LIFE    IN   ANIMALS.  59 

I  cannot  here  omit  to  remark,  how  much  these  phe- 
nomena coincide  with  the  principles  I  laid  down  as  the 
grounds  on  which  the  duration  of  life  depends.  In  its 
first  state  as  a  worm,  how  imperfect  its  existence,  and 
how  little  its  motion !  It  is  impossible  for  it  to  gene- 
rate, and  its  whole  faculties  seem  to  consist  in  those  of 
eating  and  digesting  ;  for  some  caterpillars  have  so 
monstrous  an  appetite,  that,  in  the  course  of  twenty- 
four  hours,  they  devour  more  than  three  times  the 
weight  of  their  bodies.  Their  self-consumption,  then, 
must  be  exceedingly  small,  and  their  restoration  prodi- 
gious. It  need  excite  no  surprise,  therefore,  that,  in 
this  condition,  notwithstanding  their  diminutive  size  and 
imperfection,  they  can  live  so  long.  The  case  is  the 
same  in  regard  to  their  intermediate  state  as  a  chrysa- 
lis, when  the  animal  lives  without  nourishment,  and  it 
consumed  neither  externally  nor  internally.  But  in  the 
last  period  of  its  existence,  of  its  completely  formed  state 
as  a  winged  ethereal  being,  its  whole  life  seems  to  consist 
in  continual  motion  and  removal  from  one  place  to 
another;  yet,  though  its  self-consumption  is  incessant, 
we  cannot  think  of  nourishment  or  restoration,  for  many 
butterflies  in  this  condition  have  no  mouth.  With  such 
a  refinement  of  organization,  such  a  disproportion  be- 
tween what  is  added  and  what  is  taken  away,  no  dura- 
tion is  possible ;  and  it  is  confirmed  by  experience  that 
the  animal  soon  dies.  Here,  therefore,  the  same  being 
exhibits  to  us,  in  a  very  evident  manner,  a  picture  of 
the  most  perfect  as  well  as  most  imperfect  life,  and  of 
the  longer  or  shorter  duration  connected  with  them. 

Amphibia,  those  cold  transition  beings,  can  prolong 


60  ART    OF  PROLONGING   LIFE. 

their  existence  to  an  extraordinary  length ;  an  advan- 
tage for  which  they  are  principally  indebted  to  the  tena- 
city of  their  life,  that  is,  to  the  very  intimate  and  diffi- 
cult to  be  dissolved  connection  of  the  vital  power  with 
the  material  part,  and  the  weakness  of  their  intensive 
life. 

Of  the  tenacity  of  life  we  have  instances  truly  aston- 
ishing. Tortoises  have  been  seen  to  live  a  considerable 
time  without  the  head ;  and  frogs,  when  their  hearts 
were  torn  out,  have  still  continued  to  leap  about.  A 
tortoise  has  existed  six  whole  weeks  without  any  food ; 
and  this  sufficiently  shows  how  small  its  intensive  life 
is,  and  how  little  need  it  has  of  restoration.  Nay,  it  is 
proved  that  toads  have  been  found  alive  inclosed  in 
stones  and  blocks  of  marble-*  Whether  they  were 
shut  up  there  in  the  egg,  or  as  perfect  beings,  both 
cases  are  equally  astonishing ;  for  what  a  number  of 
years  must  have  been  necessary  for  the  marble  to  gene- 
rate, and  before  it  could  acquire  its  solidity ! 

This  shows  how  much  influence  the  power  of  regene- 
ration has  in  prolonging  life.  A  great  many  dangers 

*  In  the  year  1733,  a  toad  was  found  in  Sweden,  seven  ells 
deep,  in  a  quarry,  in  the  middle  of  a  block  of  the  hardest  stone, 
to  which  people  were  obliged  to  force  their  way,  with  much  labor, 
by  means  of  chisels  and  the  hammer.  It  was  still  alive,  but  ex- 
ceedingly weak.  Its  skin  was  shrivelled,  and  covered  here  and 
therewith  a  stony  crust.  See  Transactions  of  the  Swedish  Academy, 
vol.  iii.  p.  285.  It  is  most  probable  that  the  toad,  when  very 
young,  had  got  into  a  small  cleft  of  the  stone,  where  it  nourished 
itself  with  moisture  and  the  insects  which  crept  into  it ;  that  the 
cleft  was  at  length  closed  up  by  sparry  matter,  and  that  the  ani- 
mal, by  the  time  it  grew. up,  was  thus  completely  incrusted.  - 


DURATION    OF    LIFE    IN    FISHES.  61 

and  causes  of  death  are  thereby  rendered  harmless ; 
and  whole  parts  which  have  been  lost  are  again  renewed. 
To  this  belongs  that  phenomenon  of  the  skin  which  we 
find  among  most  animals  of  this  class.  Snakes,  frogs, 
lizards,  etc.,  cast  their  skin  every  year ;  and  it  appears 
that  this  method  of  becoming  again  young,  contributes 
very  much  to  their  support  and  duration.  Something 
of  the  like  kind  seems  to  prevail  throughout  the  whole 
animal  world  :  birds  change  their  feathers  as  well  as 
their  bills,  which  is  called  moulting ;  insects  transform 
themselves,  and  most  quadrupeds  change  their  hair  and 
their  claws. 

The  tortoise  and  crocodile  attain  to  the  highest  age, 
as  far  as  we  have  yet  been  able  to  learn  from  ob- 
servation. 

The  tortoise,  an  indolent,  slow  in  all  its  motions,  and 
phlegmatic  animal,  and  which  is  so  long  in  growing 
that  in  twenty  years  one  can  scarcely  observe  an  in- 
crease of  a  few  inches,  lives  to  the  age  of  a  hundred 
years  and  more. 

The  crocodile,  a  large,  strong,  vigorous  animal,  in- 
closed in  a  hard  coat  of  mail,  incredibly  voracious,  and 
endowed  with  extraordinary  powers  of  digestion,  lives 
also  very  long ;  and,  according  to  the  affirmation  of 
several  travellers,  is  the  only  animal  which  grows  as 
long  as  it  exists. 

It  is  astonishing  what  instances  of  great  age  may  be 
found  among  fishes,  the  cold-blooded  inhabitants  of  the 
waters.  We  know  from  the  ancient  Roman  history, 
that  in  the  imperial  fishponds  there  were  several  lam- 
preys (murcence)  which  had  attained  to  their  sixtieth 
year ;  and  which  had,  at  length,  become  so  well  ac 


62  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

quainted  and  familiar  with  man  that  Crassus  orator 
unam  ex  illis  defleverit* 

The  pike,  a  dry,  exceedingly  voracious  animal,  and 
carp  also,  according  to  undeniable  testimony,  prolong 
their  life  to  a  hundred  and  fifty  years.  The  salmon 
grows  rapidly,  *and  dies  soon.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
perch,  the  growth  of  which  is  slower,  preserves  its  ex- 
istence longer. 

It  appears  here  worthy  of  being  remarked,  that  nat- 
ural death  occurs  more  rarely  among  fishes  than  in  any 
other  part  of  the  animal  kingdom.  The  law  of  the 
transition  of  one  into  another,  according  to  the  right  of 
the  strongest,  prevails  here  far  more  generally.  One 
devours  another,  the  stronger  the  weaker;  and  one  may 
assert  that  death  exists  less  in  the  water,  as  the  dying 
pass  immediately  into  the  substance  of  another  living 
being,  and  consequently  the  intermediate  state  of  death 
is  less  common  than  on  land.  Putrefaction  takes  place 
in  the  stomach  of  the  stronger.  This  regulation  is  a 
proof  of  exalted  and  divine  wisdom.  If  the  innume- 
rable millions  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  waters  which  die 
daily,  remained  only  one  day  unentombed,  or,  what  is 
the  same  thing,  not  devoured,  they  would  speedily  dif- 
fuse abroad  the  most  dreadful  pestilential  evaporation* 
In  water,  where  vegetation,  that  great  means  of  correct- 
ing animal  putrefaction,  exists  in  less  extent,  every 
cause  of  corruption  must  be  guarded  against ;  and  on 
this  account  continual  life  must  prevail. 

Among  birds,  also,  there  are  several  species  which 
live  a  long  time  ;  and  to  this,  without  doubt,  the  follow- 
ing circumstances  contribute :  — 

*  That  Crassus  the  orator  shed  tears  for  one  of  them  when  it 
died. 


DURATION    OF    LIFE    IN    BIRDS.  63 

Irst.  Birds  are  remarkably  well  clothed ;  for  no  cov- 
ering can  be  more  perfect  or  better  calculated  to  pre- 
serve warmth  than  feathers. 

2nd.  They  have,  every  year,  a  kind  of  reproduction, 
or  renovation,  which  is  called  moulting.  During  that 
period,  the  bird  appears  to  be  somewhat  sick ;  casts,  at 
length,  its  old  feathers,  and  acquires  new  ones.  Many 
cast  their  bills  also ;  an  important  part  of  renovation, 
as  they  are  thereby  put  in  a  condition  to  feed  them- 
selves much  better. 

3rd.  Birds  enjoy  the  purest  air,  and  in  the  greatest 
quantity. 

4th.  They  are  exposed  to  much  motion  ;  but  their 
motion  is  the  most  healthful  of  all,  as  it  consists  of 
both  active  and  passive,  that  is  to  say,  they  are  sus- 
pended, and  exert  themselves  only  in  moving  forwards. 

The  golden  eagle,  a  large  strong  animal  with  solid 
vessels,  attains  to  a  very  great  age.  There  have  been 
instances  of  many  living  in  menageries  above  a  hundred 
years. 

The  same  is  the  case  with  the  vulture  and  falcon, 
both  carnivorous  animals.  A  gentleman  at  London,  a 
few  years  ago,  received  from  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope 
one  that  had  been  caught  with  a  golden  collar,  on  which 
was  inscribed  in  English,  "  His  Majesty  K.  James  of 
England,  An.  1610."  It  had,  therefore,  been  at  liberty 
one  hundred  and  eighty-two  years  from  the  time  of  its 
escape.  How  old  was  it  when  it  escaped  ?  It  was  of 
the  largest  species  of  these  birds,  and  possessed  still  no 
little  strength  and  spirit ;  but  it  was  remarked  that  its 
eyes  were  blind  and  dim,  and  that  the  feathers  of  its 
neck  had  become  white. 


64  ART    OF  PROLONGING   LIFE. 

The  crow,  a  carnivorous  bird  with  hard  black  flesh, 
can  extend  its  life  also  to  a  hundred  years  ;  as  can 
likewise  the  swan,  an  animal  exceedingly  well  feath- 
ered, which  feeds  upon  fish,  and  is  fond  of  running 
water. 

The  parrot,  in  this  respect,  distinguishes  itself  in  a 
particular  manner.  One  has  had  instances  of  its  liv- 
ing sixty  years  a  prisoner  with  man ;  and  how  old 
may  it  not  have  been  when  it  was  caught  ?  It  is  an 
animal  which  eats  and' digests  almost  all  kinds  of  food, 
which  changes  its  bill,  and  which  has  hard,  dark-colored 
flesh. 

The  peacock  lives  to  the  twentieth  year.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  cock,  a  hot,  quarrelsome  animal,  does 
not  exist  nearly  so  long.  Of  a  still  shorter  life  is  the 
sparrow.  Small  birds  also  live  in  general  shorter.  The 
blackbird  and  goldfinch  live,  at  most,  only  to  the  twen- 
tieth year. 

If  we  now  turn  our  view  towards  the  most  perfect 
animals,  the  mammalia,  those  which  approach  nearest  to 
man,  we  shall  find  amongst  these  also  a  very  striking 
difference  of  age. 

That  which  attains  to  the  greatest  is  perhaps  the 
elephant ;  which,  by  its  size,  slow  growth  (for  it  grows 
to  the  thirtieth  year),  exceedingly  hard  skin  and  teeth, 
has  the  justest  claim  to  longevity. 

The  age  of  the  lion  cannot  be  accurately  determined; 
but  we  have  reason  to  think  that  it  is  of  considera- 
ble extent ;  because  some  have  been  found  without  any 
teeth. 

The  bear,  though  a  great  sleeper,  and  remarkably 
phlegmatic  when  awake,  has,  however,  no  great  dura- 


DURATION    OF    LIFE    IN    QUADRUPEDS.  65 

tion  of  existence.  A  poor  comfort  for  those  who  im- 
agine that  they  have  found  in  indolence  the  secret  for 
prolonging  life. 

The  camel,  on  the  other  hand,  a  meagre,  dry,  active, 
exceedingly  hardy  animal,  becomes  old.  It  generally 
attains  to  the  age  of  fifty,  and  sometimes  of  a  hundred 
years. 

The  horse  does  not  live  more  than  about  forty  years^ 
lie  is  a  large,  strong  animal,  but  not  well  covered  with 
hair  ;  he  is  therefore  of  greater  sensibility.  He  may, 
however,  ascribe  his  short  life,  in  some  measure,  to 
the  severity  of  man  ;  for  we  do  not  yet  know,  by  ex- 
perience, how  long  he  can  live  in  a  state  of  nature. 
The  life  of  the  ass  has  about  the  same  duration.  The 
mule,  a  production  of  both,  is  stronger  lived,  and  be- 
comes older. 

What  has  been  said  respecting  the  great  age  of  the 
stag  is  a  fable.  It  lives  thirty  years,  and  perhaps  a  lit- 
tle over. 

The  bull,  large  and  strong  as  he  is,  lives  only  a  short 
period  —  about  fifteen  years,  or  at  most  twenty.  Most 
of  the  smaller  animals,  such  as  sheep,  goats,  the  fox,  the 
hare,  etc.,  live  no  more  than  seven  or  ten  years ;  except 
dogs  and  swine,  which  can  reach  the  age  of  fifteen  or 
twenty. 

From  this  variety  of  observations  the  following  result 
may  be  drawn  :  — 

The  animal  world  have  far  more  external  and  inter- 
nal movement,  a  more  perfect  and  a  more  compounded 
intensive  life,  and,  without  doubt,  more  self-consumption 
than  the  vegetable.     Besides,  the  organs  of  this  king- 
5 


66  ART    OF  PROLONGING   LIFE. 

dom  are  much  tenderer,  more  complex,  and  more  highly 
finished.  Animals,  therefore,  must  have  a  shorter  life 
than  plants.  But  for  this  reason  they  possess  a  greater 
abundance  of  the  vital  power ;  have  more  points  of  con- 
tact with  the  whole  of  Nature  that  surrounds  them,  and 
consequently  more  accession  and  restoration  from  with- 
out. It  must  nevertheless  be  difficult,  in  this  class,  to 
attain  to  a  remarkably  great  age ;  but  a  short  life,  also, 
will  occur  very  rarely.  And  this  is  what  we  find  from 
observation  ;  a  mean  age  of  between  five  and  forty 
years  is  the  most  common. 

The  sooner  an  animal  is  formed,  the  more  rapidly  it 
arrives  at  perfection  ;  but  the  sooner  it  will  decline  and 
lose  its  existence.  This  seems  to  be  one  of  the  most 
general  laws  of  Nature,  and  is  confirmed  throughout  all 
classes.  Only  one  must  not  confound  expansion  with 
growth,  and  reckon  by  the  latter ;  for  there  are  animals 
which  grow  as  long  as  they  live,  and  to  which  growth 
forms  part  of  their  nourishment :  but  this  law  must  be 
referred,  in  particular,  to  the  two  following  periods  :  — • 

1.  To  the  time  of  the  first  expansion  in  the  egg, 
either  in  or  out  of  the  body. 

2.  To  the  period  of  maturity,  which  one  may  consider 
as  the  utmost  boundary  of  physical  conformation,  and 
as  a  proof  that  the  being  has  now  attained  the  highest 
degree  of  finishing  which  it  was  physically  capable  of 
receiving. 

The  rule,  therefore,  must  be  thus  expressed :  the  less 
time  an  animal  requires  for  its  formation  in  th e  mother's 
womb,  or  the  egg,  the  sooner  it  will  perish.  The  ele- 
phant, which  goes  with  young  till  the  third  year,  live] 


MATURITY    OF    ANIMALS.  67 

also  longest ;  but  the  hind,  the  cow,  the  dog,  which  go 
with  young  only  from  two  to  nine  months,  have  a  much 
shorter  existence.  Quod  cito  fit,  cito  peril.* 

Another  law  of  great  importance  must  also  not  be 
omitted ;  the  sooner  a  being  attains  maturity,  the  sooner 
it  propagates ;  but  "the  shorter  will  be  the  time  of  its 
duration.  This  law,  which  we  find  so  perfectly  con- 
firmed in  the  vegetable  kingdom,  prevails  likewise, 
without  exception,  in  the  animal.  The  greatest  in- 
stance of  it  is  afforded  by  insects.  Their  first  period 
towards  maturity,  that  is,  their  state  as  larva?,  may  con- 
tinue very  long,  even  several  years  ;  but  as  soon  as  they 
have  undergone  their  grand  transformation,  that  is,  have 
attained  maturity,  their  existence  is  completely  ended. 
And  among  quadrupeds,  it  is  certain  that  we  may  de- 
termine the  life  of  an  animal  with  considerable  pre- 
cision, if  we  consider  the  epoch  of  maturity  as  the  fifth 
part  of  the  whole  duration  of  its  existence. 

The  horse,  ass,  and  bull,  are  at  maturity  in  the  third 
or  fourth  year,  and  live  from  fifteen  years  to  twenty. 
Sheep  come  to  maturity  the  second  year,  and  live  from 
eight  to  ten  years. 

All  horned  animals,  in  general,  live  shorter  than 
those  which  have  not  horns. 

Animals  with  dark-colored  black  flesh,  are,  on  the 
whole,  longer-lived  than  those  which  have  white  flesh. 

And  all  quiet,  timid  animals,  have  a  shorter  existence 
than  those  of  a  contrary  temperament. 

A  certain  covering  of  the  body  seems,  in  a  particular 
manner,  to  have  a  great  influence  on  the  duration  of 
life.  Thus  birds,  which  undoubtedly  have  the  best  and 
*  That  which  is  quickly  formed,  quickly  perishes. 


68  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

most  durable  covering,  live  exceedingly  long ;  as  do  also 
the  elephant,  the  rhinoceros,  and  the  crocodile,  which 
have  the  strongest  skin. 

The  nature  of  their  motion  has  its  influence  also. 
Running  seems  to  be  the  least  favorable  to  duration  of 
life;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  swimming,  flying,  and, 
in  short,  that  motion  which  is  compounded  of  the  active 
and  the  passive,  seems  to  be  the  most  favorable. 

This  principle,  therefore,  is  confirmed :  the  more  in- 
tensive the  life  of  a  being  is,  and  the  less  its  internal 
consumption,  that  is  to  say,  according  to  the  common 
mode  of  expression,  the  more  imperfect  the  life  of  a 
being  is,  it  will  be  so  much  the  more  lasting.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  tenderer,  finer,  and  more  complex  the 
organization,  and  the  more  perfect  the  life  is,  it  will  be 
of  so  much  the  less  duration. 

This  is  shown  in  the  clearest  manner,  by  the  follow- 
ing observations :  — 

1st.  Zoophytes,  or  plant  animals,  whose  whole  organ- 
ization consists  in  a  mouth,  a  stomach,  and  a  straight 
gut,  have  a  life  exceedingly  tenacious  and  difficult  to  be 
destroyed. 

2nd.  All  cold-blooded  animals  have,  in  general,  a 
stronger  and  longer  life  than  the  warm-blooded ;  or, 
what  amounts  to  the  same  thing,  those  which  do  not 
breathe  have  in  this  an  advantage  over  those  which 
breathe.  And  for  what  reason  ?  Breathing  is  the 
source  of  internal  heat,  and  accelerates  consumption. 
An  animal  which  breathes  has,  as  it  were,  a  double  cir- 
culation, the  common  and  the  less  through  the  lungs ; 
besides  a  double  surface,  which  comes  into  continual 
contact  with  the  atmosphere,  the  skin,  and  the  superfices 


RESTORATIVE    POWERS    OF   ANIMALS.  69 

of  the  lungs ;  lastly,  a  far  stronger  irritability,  and  con- 
sequently a  much  greater  self-consumption  both  inter- 
nally and  externally. 

3rd.  Animals  which  inhabit  the  water  live  longer,  in 
general,  than  those  that  reside  in  the  air ;  and  for  this 
reason,  because  an  animal  in  water  evaporates  very 
little,  and  because  water  does  not  consume  nearly  so 
much  as  the  atmosphere. 

4th.  Lastly,  the  strongest  proof  what  an  astonishing 
effect  lessening  the  external  consumption  has  in  the 
prolongation  of  life,  is  afforded  by  instances  where  that 
consumption  has  been  rendered  totally  impossible.  I 
mean  those  of  toads  inclosed  in  blocks  of  stone,  where, 
by  the  external  consumption  being  suspended,  they  pre- 
served their  life  so  much  the  longer.  In  that  s'ate 
nothing  could  evaporate,  nothing  could  be  dissolved ; 
for  the  small  quantity  of  air  which  was  perhaps  shut 
up  with  them,  must  have  soon  become  so  much  satu- 
rated as  to  be  incapable  of  receiving  any  thing  more. 
On  this  account  the  animal  could  exist  so  long  without 
nourishment ;  for  the  need  of  nourishment  arises  from 
the  loss  which  we  sustain  by  evaporation  and  consump- 
tion. In  such  a  state,  where  every  thing  remains  as  it 
was,  no  reparation  is  required.  By  such  means  the 
vital  power  and  organization  might  be  retained  per- 
haps a  hundred  times  longer  than  in  the  natural  con- 
dition. 

The  last  principle  on  which  the  duration  of  life  is 
founded,  more  perfect  restoration,  is  fully  confirmed 
likewise  in  this  kingdom  of  Nature. 

The  highest  degree  of  restoration  is  the  reproduction 
of  entirely  new  organs. 


70  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

This  power  is  found,  in  a  wonderful  degree,  in  the 
class  of  plant-animals,  worms,  and  amphibia,  in  short 
of  those  animals  which  have  cold  blood  and  no  bones, 
or  only  such  as  are  cartilaginous.  And  amongst  all 
these  animals  there  exists  a  most  remarkable  duration 
of  life. 

Somewhat  of  the  same  nature  is  the  casting  of  scales 
among  fishes;  of  the  skin  among  snakes,  crocodiles, 
frogs,  etc. :  of  the  feathers  and  bill  among  birds :  and 
we  always  observe,  that  the  more  perfect  this  renova- 
tion is,  the  duration  of  life  is  proportionably  longer. 

A  highly  important  circumstance,  however,  in  regard 
to  restoration,  is  nourishment ;  and  here  a  most  essen- 
tial difference  is  manifested  between  the  vegetable  and 
animal  world.  All  plants  derive  their  nourishment 
from  without :  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  an  invariable  law 
of  Nature,  among  animals,  that  the  nourishment  must 
first  pass  into  a  cavity  or  bag,  commonly  called  the 
stomach,  destined  for  that  purpose,  before  it  can  be  re- 
ceived into  the  mass  of  the  juices  and  become  a  part  of 
the  animal ;  and  the  imperfect  polype,  as  well  as  the 
elephant,  has  these  characteristics  of  the  animal,  a 
mouth,  and  a  stomach. 

It  is  this  which  forms  the  grand  basis  of  the  animal 
world ;  the  characterizing  difference  between  animals 
and  plants ;  and  upon  which  is  originally  grounded  the 
superior  advantage  of  individuality ;  of  internal,  more 
perfect,  and  more  expanded  life.  Among  animals,  the 
substance  which  is  received  may  obtain  a  far  higher 
degree  of  preparation  than  among  plants ;  the  roots 
(the  lacteal  vessels)  are,  as  it  were,  within  ;  and  receive 
the  nourishing  juices,  already  assimilated  and  purified, 


RESTORATIVE    POWERS    OF   ANIMALS.  71 

through  the  intestines.  Animals,  therefore,  are  subject 
to  more  secretions  and  excretions  than  plants ;  and,  for 
the  same  reason,  the  course  of  the  nourishing  juices 
and  of  all  movements  proceeds,  among  animals,  from 
the  internal  to  the  external  part,  and  among  plants  from 
the  external  to  the  internal.  For  this  reason,  also,  the 
progress  of  death,  in  an  animal,  is  from  the  external  to 
the  internal  parts  :  in  a  plant  the  case  is  reversed  ;  and 
one  may  often  see  trees  without  pith  or  internal  sub- 
stance, of  which  nothing  exists  but  the  bark,  and  which, 
however,  still  continue  to  live.  For  the  above  reason, 
likewise,  animals  can  receive  nourishment  far  more 
various,  and  restore  themselves  in  a  much  more  perfect 
manner,  and,  by  these  means,  counterbalance  the 
stronger  self-consumption. 


CHAPTER    V. 

Duration  of  the  life  of  man.  Apparently  inci'edible  age  of  the  patri- 
archs explained.  Age  of  the  world  has  no  influence  on  the  duration 
of  human  life.  Instances  of  great  age  among  the  Jews,  Greeks, 
and  Romans.  Tables  of  the  Census  under  Vespasian.  Instances 
of  great  age  among  kings,  emperors,  and  popes.  Frederick  II. 
Among  hermits  and  monks;  philosophers  and  men  of  letters;  poets 
and  artists.  Instances  of  the  greatest  age  to  be  found  only  among 
country  people,  hunters,  gardeners,  soldiers,  and  sailors.  Few  to 
be  found  among  physicians.  Shortest  life.  Difference  of  age 
according  to  the  climate. 

LET  us  now  proceed  to  the  grand  source  of  our 
information,  the  history  of  man ;  and  let  me  there  col- 
lect examples  which  will  be  of  utility  in  the  present 
research. 

I  shall,  therefore,  lay  before  my  readers  the  most 
remarkable  instances  of  the  greatest  age  among  man- 
kind ;  and  we  shall  thence  see  in  what  climate,  under 
what  favorable  circumstances,  in  what  condition,  and 
what  state  both  of  mind  and  body  man  has  attained  to 
the  highest  degree  of  longevity  :  an  agreeable  review, 
which  will  make  known  to  us  a  peculiar  part  of  the 
history  of  the  world,  the  history  of  the  age  of  man,  and 
the  venerable  gallery  of  the  Nestors  of  ancient  periods 
and  nations.  I  shall  occasionally  add  a  few  short  char- 
acteristics, to  give  at  the  same  time  a  hint  how  far 
character  and  temperament  have  an  influence  on  the 
duration  of  life. 


DURATION    OF    HUMAN    LIFE.  73 

It  is  commonly  believed  that,  during  the  early  peri- 
ods of  the  world,  the  lives  of  its  inhabitants  were  more 
youthful  and  more  perfect ;  that  these  primitive  men 
had  a  gigantic  size,  incredible  strength,  and  a  most 
astonishing  duration  of  life.  A  variety  of  such  notions 
were  long  prevalent  among  mankind ;  and  to  these  we 
are  indebted  for  the  origin  of  many  romantic  tales. 
Some  have  not  hesitated  seriously  to  ascribe  to  our 
forefather  Adam,  the  height  of  nine  hundred  yards,  and 
the  age  of  almost  a  thousand  years.  But  the  accurate 
and  rational  investigation  of  modern  philosophy  has 
converted  the  supposed  bones  of  giants,  found  in  differ- 
ent  parts  of  the  earth,  into  those  of  the  elephant  and 
rhinoceros;  and  acute  theologists  have  shown  that  the 
chronology  of  the  early  ages  was  not  the  same  as  that 
used  at  present.  Some,  particularly  Hensler,  have 
proved,  with  the  highest  probability,  that  the  year  till 
the  time  of  Abraham  consisted  only  of  three  months ; 
that  it  was  afterwards  extended  to  eight ;  and  that  it 
was  not  till  the  time  of  Joseph  that  it  was  made  to  con- 
sist of  twelve.  These  assertions  are,  in  a  certain  de- 
gree, confirmed  by  some  of  the  eastern  nations,  who  still 
reckon  only  three  months  to  the  year ;  and  besides,  it 
would  be  altogether  inexplicable  why  the  life  of  man 
should  have  been  shortened  one  half  immediately  after 
the  flood.  It  would  be  equally  inexplicable  why  the 
patriarchs  did  not  marry  till  their  sixtieth,  seventieth, 
and  even  hundredth  year;  but  this  difficulty  vanishes 
when  we  reckon  these  ages  according  to  the  before- 
mentioned  standard,  which  will  give  the  twentieth  or 
thirtieth  year ;  and  consequently,  the  same  periods  at 
which  people  marry  at  present.  The  whole,  therefore, 


74  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

according  to  this  explanation,  assumes  a  different  ap- 
pearance. The  sixteen  hundred  years  before  the  flood 
will  become  four  hundred  and  fourteen ;  and  the  nine 
hundred  years  (the  highest  recorded)  which  Methuselah 
lived,  will  be  reduced  to  two  hundred,  —  an  age  which 
is  not  impossible,  and  to  which  some  men  in  modern 
times  have  nearly  approached. 

In  profane  history,  also,  we  have  an  account  of  many 
heroes  and  Arcadian  kings  of  those  periods  who  attained 
to  the  age  of  several  hundred  years ;  but  these  pre- 
tended instances  of  longevity  can  be  explained  in  the 
same  manner. 

With  the  period  of  Abraham,  a  period  when  history 
seems  first  to  be  established  on  more  certain  grounds, 
we  find  mention  of  a  duration  of  life  which  can  be  still 
attained,  and  which  no  longer  appears  extraordinary, 
especially  when  we  consider  the  temperate  manner  in 
which  the  patriarchs  lived;  and  that,  as  they  were 
nomades,  or  a  wandering  people,  they  were  much  ex- 
posed to  the  free  open  air. 

From  the  history  of  the  Jews  we  are  enabled  to  col- 
lect the  following  facts.  Abraham,  a  man  of  great  and 
resolute  mind,  who  was  fortunate  in  all  his  undertakings, 
attained  to  the  age  of  175  years ;  his  son  Isaac,  a  chaste, 
peaceable  man,  and  fond  of  tranquillity,  to  180  ;  Jacob, 
who  was  also  a  lover  of  peace,  but  crafty  and  cunning, 
lived  only  147;  Ishmael,  a  warrior,  137;  Sarah,  the 
only  female  of  the  ancient  world  with  whose  duration  of 
life  we  are  acquainted,  lived  127  years;  Joseph,  a  man 
of  great  prudence  and  political  talents,  much  afflicted  in 
his  youth,  but  greatly  honored  in  his  latter  days,  lived 
to  the  age  of  110. 


EXAMPLES    OF    GREAT    AGE.  75 

Moses,  a  man  of  extraordinary  strength  and  spirit, 
rich  in  deeds  but  weak  in  words,  carried  his  life,  during 
which  he  was  exposed  to  great  care  and  fatigue,  to  the 
age  of  120.  But  he  even  complains  that  the  life  of  man 
endures  only  threescore  and  ten,  or  at  most  fourscore 
years ;  and  we  hence  find  that,  in  regard  to  age,  the 
case  was  exactly  the  same  three  thousand  years  ago  as 
it  is  at  present. 

The  warlike  and  ever  active  Joshua  lived  to  the  age 
of  110.  Eli,  the  high-priest,  a  corpulent,  phlegmatic 
man,  of  a  resigned  disposition,  lived  to  be  only  90  ;  but 
Elisha,  severe  towards  others  and  towards  himself,  who 
despised  convenience  and  riches,  lived  far  above  100. 
In  the  latter  period  of  the  Jewish  State,  the  prophet 
Simeon,  a  man  full  of  hope  and  confidence  in  God,  was 
distinguished  by  a  li  e  of  90  years. 

However  replete  with  fables  the  history  of  the  Egyp- 
tians may  be,  the  age  of  their  kings,  recorded  from  the 
earliest  periods,  presents  nothing  remarkable.  The 
longest  reign  is  somewhat  above  fifty  years. 

If  we  judge  according  to  the  account  of  Lucian,  we 
must  form  a  very  high  idea  of  the  great  age  of  the 
Seres,  or  the  ancient  Chinese.  They  are  expressly  call- 
ed Macrobii  ;  and  Lucian  ascribes  their  longevity  to  their 
drinking  water  in  great  abundance.  Is  it  not  probable 
that  they  may,  even  then,  have  been  acquainted  with 
tea? 

Among  the  Greeks  we  find  several  instances  of  great 
age.  The  wise  Solon,  a  man  of  much  magnanimity, 
depth  of  thought  and  ardent  patriotism,  though  not  in- 
different in  regard  to  the  enjoyments  of  life,  attained 
the  age  of  80. 


76  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

Epiraenides  of  Crete  is  said  to  have  lived  157  years. 
The  poet  Anacreon,  so  fond  of  mirth  and  jollity,  lived 
to  the  age  of  80  ;  as  did  also  Sophocles  and  Pindar. 
Georgias  of  Leontium,  a  great  orator,  a  man  who  had 
travelled  much,  and  who  spent  a  great  deal  of  his  time 
in  the  company  of  young  people  and  in  giving  them  in- 
.struction,  prolonged  his  life  to  the  age  of  108  years. 
Protagoras  of  Abdera,  an  orator  and  traveller  also, 
lived  90  ;  and  Isocrates,  a  man  of  great  temperance  and 
modesty,  lived  98.  Democritus,  the  friend  and  searcher 
of  Nature,  a  man  also  of  a  good  temper  and  serene 
mind,  lived  109  years  ;  and  the  frugal,  but  slovenly 
Diogenes,  90.  Zeno,  the  founder  of  the  Stoical  sect, 
and  a  master  in  the  art  of  self-denial,  attained  nearly 
to  the  age  of  100  years ;  and  Plato,  one  of  the  most  di- 
vine geniuses  that  ever  existed,  and  a  friend  to  rest  and 
calm  meditation,  to  that  of  81.  Pythagoras,  who  in 
his  doctrine  recommended  good  regimen,  moderation  of 
the  passions,  and  the  gymnastic  exercises,  became  also 
very  old.  He  used  to  divide  the  life  of  man  into  four 
equal  parts.  From  the  first  to  the  twentieth  year  he 
called  him  a  child,  a  man  begun ;  from  the  twentieth  to 
the  fortieth,  a  young  man ;  from  the  fortieth  to  the  six- 
tieth, a  man  ;  from  the  sixtieth  to  the  eightieth,  an  old 
or  declining  man ;  and  after  this  period  he  reckoned 
him  no  more  among  the  living,  let  him  live  to  whatever 
age  he  might. 

Among  the  Romans  the  following  instances  deserve 
to  be  remarked  :  — 

M.  Valerius  Corvinus,  a  man  of  great  boldness  and 
courage,  extremely  popular,  and  always  fortunate,  was 
above  the  age  of  100.  Orbilius,  the  celebrated  Orbil- 


EXAMPLES    OF    GREAT    AGE.  77 

ius,  first  a  soldier  and  then  a  pedagogue,  but  who  always 
exercised  military  severity,  attained,  in  this  kind  of  life, 
to  the  age  of  above  100  years.  How  far  Hermippus, 
the  instructor  of  young  maids,  carried  his  life,  we  have 
seen  before.  Fabius,  well  known  on  account  of  his  de- 
lay, showed,  by  an  age  of  90  years,  that  something  may 
be  gained  even  from  death  by  the  same  means.  And 
Cato,  that  man  with  an  iron  body  and  iron  mind,  fond 
of  a  country  life,  and  an  enemy  to  physicians,  lived  to 
the  age  of  above  90. 

We  have  likewise  remarkable  instances  of  the  lon- 
gevity of  Roman  ladies.  Terentia,  the  wife  of  Cicero, 
notwithstanding  her  many  misfortunes,  cares,  and  the 
gout,  with  which  she  was  tormented,  lived  to  the  age  of 
103.  And  Livia,  the  wife  of  Augustus,  an  imperious, 
passionate,  but  fortunate  woman,  attained  to  that  of  90. 

It  is  particularly  worthy  of  remark,  that  several  in- 
stances occur  of  Roman  actresses  who  became  old  ;  an 
advantage  which  they  have  now  unfortunately  lost,  and 
which  seems  to  show  that  more  vital  consumption  is 
connected  with  their  occupation  at  present  than  former- 
ly. One  Luceja,  who  came  on  the  stage  very  young, 
performed  a  whole  century,  and  even  made  her  appear- 
ance publicly  when  in  her  112th  year.  Galeria  Copi- 
ola,  an  actress,  and  dancer  also,  wras  90  years  old  when 
she  first  performed  in  the  theatre ;  and  she  was  again 
brought  forward  as  a  wonder,  in  order  to  compliment 
Pompey.  But  this  even  was  not  the  last  time  of  her 
acting ;  for  she  appeared  once  more,  to  show  her  re- 
spect for  Augustus. 

A  very  valuable  collection  in  regard  to  the  duration 
of  life  in  the  time  of  the  emperor  Vespasian,  has  been 


78  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

preserved  to  us  by  Pliny,  from  the  records  of  the  Cen- 
sus, a  source  perfectly  sure  and  worthy  of  credit.  It 
there  appears,  that  in  the  year  when  that  numbering  of 
the  people  took  place,  the  seventy-sixth  of  our  era, 
there  were  living  in  that  part  of  Italy  which  lies  be- 
tween the  Apennines  and  the  Po,  only  124  men  who 
had  attained  the  age  of  100  years  and  upwards,  —  name- 
ly, fifty-four  of  100,  fifty-seven  of  110,  two  of  125,  four 
of  130,  four  of  from  135  to  137,  and  three  of  140.  Be- 
sides these,  there  were  in  Parma  five  men,  three  of 
whom  were  120,  and  two  130  ;  in  Placentia,  one  of  130  ; 
at  Faventia,  a  woman  of  132  ;  and  in  Vellejacium,  a 
small  town  near  Placentia,  there  lived  ten  persons,  six 
of  whom  had  attained  to  the  age  of  110,  and  four  to 
that  of  120. 

The  bills  of  mortality  also  of  the  celebrated  Ulpian 
agree  in  a  most  striking  manner  with  ours,  and  in  par- 
ticular with  those  of  great  cities.  From  these  it  appears 
that  one  might  with  great  propriety  compare  Rome  to 
London,  in  regard  to  the  probability  of  the  duration  of 
life. 

We  have  sufficient  reason,  therefore,  to  believe  that 
the  duration  of  life  in  the  time  of  Moses,  the  Greeks, 
and  the  Romans,  was  invariably  the  same  as  at  present ; 
and  that  the  age  of  the  earth  has  no  influence  on  the 
longevity  of  its  inhabitants,  that  difference  excepted 
which  may  be  produced  by  the  cultivation  of  its  sur- 
face, and  the  difference  of  climate  that  may  thence 
arise. 

Thus,  for  example,  it  is  certain  that  in  Italy,  at  pre- 
sent, neither  so  many  nor  so  old  people  are  to  be  found 
as  in  the  time  of  Vespasian  ;  but  the  reason  is,  that  the 


LONGEVITY  OF  SOVEREIGNS.          79 

climate  then,  on  account  of  the  woods  and  forests,  was 
much  colder,*  and  rendered  the  men  more  robust.  It 
is  also  not  improbable  that  the  natural  warmth  of  the 
earth  itself  may  alter,  and  be  accumulated  sometimes  in 
one  region  and  diminished  in  another. 

The  result  of  this  research  will  therefore  be,  that  man 
can  still  attain  to  the  same  age  as  ever.  The  difference 
only  is,  that  more  attained  to  old  age  formerly  than  at 
present. 

Let  us  now  take  a  view  of  the  different  states  and 
conditions  of  men,  ^n4,  in  this  respect,  turn  our  eyes  in 
particular  to  modern  times. 

To  begin  with  emperors,  kings,  and,  in  short,  the 
great  ones  of  the  earth :  has  Nature,  which  has  con- 
ferred upon  them,  in  the  highest  degree,  all  the  advan- 
tages and  enjoyments  of  this  world,  bestowed  upon  them 
also  her  best  gift,  a  longer  duration  of  life  ?  Unfortu- 
nately not.  Neither  ancient  nor  modern  history  informs 
us  that  this  prerogative  belongs  exclusively  to  them. 
In  ancient  history  we  find  only  a  few  kings  wrho  attained 
to  their  eightieth  year ;  and  this  is  equally  the  case  in 
the  modern.  In  the  whole  catalogue  of  Roman  and 
German  emperors,  reckoning  from  Augustus  to  the  pres- 
ent time,  which  includes  altogether  above  two  hundred, 
we  find,  (the  two  first,  Augustus  and  Tiberius,  except- 
ed)  only  four  who  arrived  at  the  age  of  80 ;  namely, 
Gordian,  Valerian,  Anastasius,  and  Justinian. 

Augustus,  a  man  of  a  peaceful,  moderate  disposition, 
though  quick  and  lively  in  action,  temperate  in  the  en- 

*  Of  this  we  have  several  instances.  Pliny,  for  example, 
speaks  of  winters  when  the  wine  was  congealed  in  the  cellars, 
and  the  Tyber  frozen  to  the  bottom. 


80  ART    OF    PROLONGING   LIFE. 

joyments  of  the  table,  but  more  susceptible  therefore  of 
the  pleasure  arising  from  the  arts  and  the  sciences,  at- 
tained to  the  age  of  seventy-six.  He  used  none  but  the 
simplest  food ;  ate  only  when  he  had  an  appetite  ;  never 
drank  above  a  pint  of  wine ;  and  considered  mirth  and 
good  company  as  the  best  seasoning  of  his  meals.  He 
possessed  a  serene  mind,  was  a  great  favorite  of  fortune, 
and  entertained  such  ideas  respecting  the  term  of  life, 
that  he  said  to  his  friends  a  little  before  his  death,  Plau- 
dite,  amid  !  "  Applaud,  my  friends  ;  the  farce  is  ended ! " 
a  disposition  of  mind  exceedingly  favorable  to  longev- 
ity. In  the  thirtieth  year  of  his  age  he  was  attacked 
by  so  severe  and  dangerous  a  disease  that  his  life  was 
despaired  of.  It  was  a  sort  of  nervous  disorder,  which, 
by  the  warmth  and  hot  baths  recommended  to  him  by 
his  ordinary  physicians,  must  have  been  rendered  still 
worse.  Antonius  Musa  resolved  to  treat  his  case  in  a 
manner  totally  different.  He  obliged  him  to  keep  him- 
self perfectly  cool,  and  to  use  the  cold  bath ;  and  by 
these1  means  his  health  was  again  soon  restored.  This 
disorder,  as  well  as  the  useful  change  which  it  effected 
in  his  mode  of  living,  contributed  very  much,  in  all  pro- 
bability, to  the  prolongation  of  his  life. 

From  this  account  we  learn  also,  that  the  method  by 
the  cold  bath  is  improperly  called  the  English  method, 
since  it  appears  to  be  of  so  great  antiquity. 

The  emperor  Tiberius  lived  two  years  longer.  He 
was  of  a  violent  temper,  but  vir  lentis  maxillis,*  as  Au- 
gustus called  him ;  a  friend  to  voluptuousness,  though 

*  Literally :  "A  man  of  slow  jaws,"  which  may  mean  that  he 
masticated  slowly,  as  well  as  that  he  was  moderate  in  the  quan- 
tity of  his  food.  — EDITOR. 


LONGEVITY    OF    SOVEREIGNS.  81 

still  attached  to  regimen,  and,  even  amidst  enjoyment, 
not  inattentive  to  his  health ;  so  that  he  used  to  say  he 
considered  a  man  as  a  fool,  who,  after  the  thirtieth  year 
of  his  age,  consulted  physicians  respecting  diet ;  because 
every  one,  with  the  least  attention,  must  before  that  pe- 
riod have  discovered  what  was  useful  and  what  preju- 
dicial to  him. 

Aurengzeb,  that  celebrated  conqueror,  attained  to  the 
age  of  100  ;  but  he  is  not  to  be  considered  so  much  a* 
king  as  a  nomade  or  wanderer. 

Great  age  is  equally  uncommon  in  the  royal  and] 
princely  families  of  modern  times.  We  must,  however, 
except  the  kings  of  France,  of  the  house  of  Bourbon, 
two  of  whom,  who  succeeded  each  other,  attained  the 
age  of  70. 

Frederic  IL,  that  great  prince,  one  of  the  most  im- 
portant instances  in  modern  times,  must  not  be  here 
omitted.  He  was  great  in  every  thing,  even  in  what 
related  to  his  medicine.  Pie  not  only  attained  to  an  age 
very  rare  among  kings  —  that  of  7C,  but,  what  is  still 
of  greater  weight,  attained  to  it  amidst  a  life  more  ex- 
posed to  care,  labor,  and  fatigue,  than  that  perhaps  of 
any  other  man  who  ever  existed,  as  he  spent  twenty 
years  of  it  in  active  war,  during  which  he  submitted  to 
all  the  toils  of  a  common  soldier  ;  but  with  this  differ- 
ence,  that,  as  commander-in-chief  he  thought  for  all,  and 
frequently  passed  the  night,  while  others  were  enjoying 
repose,  in  the  deepest  meditation,  and  in  forming  new 
plans  for  his  future  operations. 

The  ecclesiastical  princes,  in  this  respect,  -have  not 
been  more  fortunate.  Of  three  hundred  popes,  who 
may  be  reckoned  up,  no  more  than  five  attained  to  or 
6 


82  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

exceeded  the  age  of  eighty,  though  they  possessed  the 
advantage  of  obtaining  the  pontifical  chair  at  a  late  pe- 
riod, and  had  therefore  a  greater  probability  of  enjoy- 
ing longevity. 

An  extraordinary  number  of  instances,  however,  may 
be  found  among  the  hermits  and  monks,  who,  with  the 
strictest  regimen,  self-denial,  and  abstraction,  while  they 
divested  themselves  of  all  human  passions,  and  avoided 
such  intercourse  as  might  tend  to  excite  them,  led  a  life 
of  contemplation,  but  united  with  bodily  exercise  and  the 
enjoyment  of  free  air.  Thus  the  apostle  John  attained 
to  the  age  of  93  ;  Paul  the  hermit,  by  means  of  an  al- 
most incredibly  severe  regimen  in  a  grotto,  to  that  of 
113  ;  and  St.  Anthony  to  that  of  105.  Athanasius  and 
Jerome  also  exceeded  the  age  of  80.*  In  modern  times, 
since  mental  abstraction,  self-denial,  and  temperance 
have  undergone  some  variations,  instances  of  this  kind 
are  become  more  uncommon. 

Deep-thinking  philosophers  have  at  alj  times  been 
distinguished  by  their  great  age,  especially  when  their 
philosophy  was  occupied  in  the  study  of  Nature,  and 
afforded  them  the  divine  pleasure  of  discovering  new 
and  important  truths :  the  purest  enjoyment,  a  benefi- 
cial exaltation  of  ourselves,  and  a  kind  of  restoration 
which  may  be  ranked  among  the  principal  means  of 
prolonging  the  life  of  a  perfect  being.  The  most  an- 
cient instances  are  to  be  found  among  the  Stoics  and 
the  Pythagoreans,  according  to  whose  ideas  subduing  the 
passions  and  sensibility,  with  the  observation  of  strict 

*  St.  David  lived  to  the  age  of  146  ;  Theodore,  Archbishop  of 
Canterbury,  to  that  of  88 ;  and  Wilfred,  Bishop  of  Hexham, 
through  a  turbulent  career,  to  76.  —  EDITOR. 


LONGEVITY    OF   PHILOSOPHERS.  83 

regimen,  were  the  most  essential  duties  of  a  philosopher. 
We  have  already  considered  the  example  of  a  Plato  and 
an  Isocrates.  Apollonius  of  Tyana,  an  accomplished 
man,  endowed  with  extraordinary  powers  both  of  body 
and  mind,  who,  by  the  Christians,  was  considered  as  a 
magician,  and  by  the  Greeks  and  Romans  as  a  messen- 
ger of  the  gods,  in  his  regimen  a  follower  of  Pythago- 
ras, and  a  friend  to  travelling,  was  above  100  years  of 
age.  Xenophilus,  a  Pythagorean  also,  lived  106  years. 
The  philosopher  Demonax,  a  man  of  the  most  severe 
manners  and  uncommon  stoical  apathy,  lived  likewise 
100.  Being  asked,  a  little  before  his  death,  how  he 
wished  to  be  buried,  he  replied,  "  Give  yourself  no  con- 
cern on  that  point ;  the  smell  will  soon  bury  the  car- 
cass." "  But,"  returned  his  friends,  "  do  you  wish,  then, 
to  become  food  to  the  dogs  and  the  birds?"  '"Why 
not  ? "  replied  he ;  "  during  my  whole  life  I  have  en- 
deavored as  much  as  I  could  to  be  serviceable  to  man, 
why  should  I  not,  after  my  death,  be  of  some  use  also 
to  animals?" 

Even  in  modern  times  philosophers  seem  to  have  ob- 
tained this  preeminence,  and  the  deepest  thinkers 
appear  in  that  respect  to  have  enjoyed,  in  a  higher  de- 
gree, the  fruits  of  their  mental  tranquillity.  Kepler 
and  Bacon  both  attained  to  a  great  age ;  and  Newton, 
who  found  all  his  happiness  and  pleasure  in  the  higher 
spheres,  attained  to  the  age  of  84.*  Euler,  a  man  of  in- 
credible industry,  whose  works  on  the  most  abstruse 
subjects  amount  to  above  three  hundred,  approached 

*  Kepler  only  reached  the  age  of  59  ;  Bacon  attained  that  of 
78;  and  Euler,  77. — EDITOR, 


84  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

near  to  the  same  age  ;  and  Kant,  the  first  philosopher 
now  alive,  still  shows  that  philosophy  not  only  can  pre- 
serve life,  but  that  it  is  the  most  faithful  companion  of 
the  greatest  age,  and  an  inexhaustible  source  of  happi- 
ness to  one's  self  and  to  others.* 

Academicians,  in  this  respect,  have  been  particularly 
distinguished.  I  need  mention  only  the  venerable  Fon- 
tenelle,  who  wanted  but  one  year  of  a  hundred,  and  that 
Nestor,  Formey,  both  perpetual  secretaries,  the  former 
of  the  French,  and  the  latter  of  the  Berlin  Academy. 

We  find,  also,  many  instances  of  long  life  among 
schoolmasters;  so  that  one  might  almost  believe  that 
continual  intercourse  with  youth  may  contribute  some- 
thing towards  our  renovation  and  support. 

But  poets  and  artists,  in  short  all  those  fortunate  mor- 
tals whose  principal  occupation  leads  them  to  be  con- 
versant with  the  sports  of  fancy  and  self-created  worlds, 
and  whose  whole  life,  in  the  properest  sense,  is  an 
agreeable  dream,  have  a  particular  claim  to  a  place  in 
the  history  of  longevity.  We  have  already  seen  to 
what  a  great  age  Anacreon,  Sophocles,  and  Pindar  at- 
tained. Young,  Voltaire,  Bodmer,  Haller,  Metastasio, 
Gleim,  Utz,  and  Oeser,  all  lived  to  be  very  old  ;f  and 

*  Kant  died  in  1804,  having  lived  to  the  age  of  80. — EDITOR. 

t  The  following  short  list  of  the  ages  of  distinguished  men 
may  be  interesting  to  the  reader  in  this  place ;  for  a  more  com- 
plete catalogue,  arranged  according  to  the  classes  of  science  and 
literature  upon  which  they  shed  their  light,  he  is  referred  to  Mad- 
den's  "  Infirmities  of  Genius." 


Tasso 61 

Virgil  ....  62 
Shakspeare  .  .  .  .62 
Moliere  ....  63 
Dante 56 


Pope 56 

Ovid 57 

Horace       ....  57 

Kacine 59 

Demosthenes     ...  59 


LONGEVITY    OF    GREAT    MEN. 


85 


I  here  flatter  myself  with  the  hope,  and  I  shall  no 
doubt  be  joined  in  my  wish  by  every  one  of  my  readers, 
that  Wieland,  the  prince  of  the  German  poets,  may  af- 
ford the  newest  confirmation  of  this  position.* 

The  most  extraordinary  instances  of  longevity  are  to 
be  found,  however,  only  among  those  classes  of  .man- 
kind who,  amidst  bodily  labor,  and  in  the  open  air,  lead 
a  simple  life  agreeable  to  nature,  such  as  farmers,  gar- 
deners, hunters,  soldiers,  and  sailors.  In  these  situa- 
tions man  still  attains  to  the  age  of  140,  and  even  150. 
I  cannot  here  deny  myself  the  pleasure  of  giving  a 
more  particular  account  of  some  of  these  instances  ;  for, 
in  cases  of  this  kind,  the  most  trifling  circumstance  is 
often  interesting,  and  may  be  of  importance. 


Lavater 

.    60 

Thucydides  . 

.    80 

Galvani 

61 

Juvenal 

80 

Bocaccio        ... 

.     62 

.     80 

Fenelon 

63 

Plato 

81 

Aristotle 

.     63 

Buffon   . 

.     81 

Cuvier 

64 

Goethe 

82 

Milton    .... 

.     66 

Claude  . 

.     82 

Rousseau   . 

66 

West  . 

82 

Erasmus 

.     69 

Franklin 

.     84 

Cervantes  . 

69 

Metastasio 

84 

Beaumarchais 

.     69 

Herschell       . 

.     84 

Dryden 

70 

Anacreon  . 

85 

Petrarch 

.     70 

Newton  . 

.     85 

Lesage 

70 

Voltaire     . 

85 

Linnseus 

.     71 

Halley 

.     86 

Locke 

73 

Sophocles  . 

90 

La  Fontaine  . 

.     74 

Leeuwenhoeck 

.     91 

Handel       . 

75 

Hans  Sloane 

93 

Reaumur 

.    75 

Winston 

.     95 

Galileo 

78 

Michael  Angelo 

96 

Swift     .... 

78 

Titian    . 

.     96 

Roger  Bacon      .        . 

78 

Herodias    . 

.       100 

Corneille 

.     78 

Fontenelle     . 

.  100 

Marmoutel 

79 

Georgias    . 

.       107 

—EDITOR. 

*  Wialand  died  insane  at  the  age  of  eighty,  in  January,  1813. 
— EDITOR. 


86  ART    OF  PROLONGING    LIFE. 

In  the  year  1670  died  Henry  Jenkins,  of  Yorkshire. 
He  remembered  the  battle  of  Floddenfield  in  1513,  and 
at  that  time  he  was  twelve  years  of  age.  It  was 
proved,  from  the  registers  of  the  Chancery  and  other 
Courts,  that  he  had  appeared,  140  years  before  his 
death,  as  an  evidence,  and  had  an  oath  administered  to 
him.  At  the  time  of  his  death,  he  was,  therefore,  169 
years  old.  His  last  occupation  was  fishing;  and  when 
above  the  age  of  100,  he  was  able  to  swim  across  rapid 
rivers. 

Next  to  him,  in  point  of  age,  is  another  Englishman, 
Thomas  Parr,  of  Shropshire.  He  was  a  poor  farmer's 
servant,  and  obliged  to  maintain  himself  by  daily  labor. 
When  above  120  years  of  age,  he  married  a  widow  for 
his  second  wife,  who  lived  with  him  twelve  years,  and 
who  asserted  that  during  that  time  he  never  betrayed 
any  signs  of  infirmity  or  age.  Till  his  130th  year  he 
performed  all  his  usual  work,  and  was  accustomed  even 
to  thresh.  Some  years  before  his  death,  his  eyes  and 
memory  began  to  fail ;  but  his  hearing  and  senses  con- 
tinued sound  to  the  last.  In  his  152nd  year  his  fame 
had  reached  London ;  and  as  the  king  was  desirous  of 
seeing  so  great  a  rarity,  he  was  induced  to  undertake  a 
journey  thither.  This,  in  all  probability,  shortened  his 
existence,  which  he  otherwise  might  have  preserved 
some  years  longer ;  for  he  was  treated  at  Court  in  so 
royal  a  manner,  and  his  mode  of  living  was  so  totally 
changed,  that  he  died  soon  after,  at  London,  in  1635. 
He  was  152  years  and  nine  months  old,  and  had  lived 
under  nine  kings  of  England.  What  was  most  remark- 
able in  regard  to  this  man  is,  that  when  his  body  was 
opened  by  Dr.  Harvey,  his  internal  organs  were  found 


INSTANCES    OF   LONGEVITY.  87 

to  be  in  the  most  perfect  state,  nor  was  the  least  symp- 
tom of  decay  to  be  discovered  in  them.  His  cartilages 
even  were  not  ossified,  as  is  the  case  in  all  old  people. 
The  smallest  cause  of  death  had  not  yet  settled  in  his 
body ;  and  he  died  merely  of  a  plethora,  because  he  had 
been  too  well  treated. 

This  Parr  is  a  proof  that,  in  many  families,  a  consti- 
tution so  favorable  to  longevity  may  transmit  a  remark- 
ably good  stamen  vitce.  His  great  grandson  died  at 
Cork,  a  few  years  ago,  at  the  age  of  103. 

The  following  instance  is  almost  of  the  same  kind :  — 
A  Dane,  named  Draakenberg,  born  in  1626,  served  as  a 
seaman  in  the  Royal  Navy  till  the  ninety -first  year  of 
his  age,  and  spent  fifteen  years  of  his  life  as  a  slave  in 
Turkey,  and  in  the  greatest  misery.  When  he  was  111, 
and  had  settled  to  enjoy  tranquillity,  he  resolved  to 
marry,  and  united  himself  to  a  woman  of  threescore. 
He,  however,  outlived  her  a  long  time ;  and  in  his 
130th  year,  fell  in  love  with  a  young  country  girl,  who, 
as  may  be  well  supposed,  rejected  his  proposal.  He 
then  tried  his  fortune  with  several  others,  but  as  he  had 
no  better  success,  he  at  length  resolved  to  continue 
single,  and  in  that  condition  lived  sixteen  years.  He 
died  in  the  year  1772,  in  the  146th  year  of  his  age. 
He  was  a  man  of  a  rather  violent  temper,  and  exhibited 
frequent  proofs  of  his  strength  during  the  last  years  of 
his  life. 

In  the  year  1757,  J.  Emngham  died  in  Cornwall,  in 
the  144th  year  of  his  age.  He  was  born  of  poor  pa- 
rents in  the  reign  of  James  I.,  and  had  been  brought  up 
to  labor  from  his  infancy.  He  had  served  long  as  a 
soldier  and  corporal ;  and  had  been  present  at  the  bat<~ 


88  ART    OF  PROLONGING  LIFE. 

tie  of  Hochstedt.  He  at  length  returned  to  the  place 
of  his  nativity,  and  worked  as  a  day-laborer  till  his 
death.  It  is  to  be  remarked,  that  in  his  youth  he  never 
drank  strong,  heating  liquors ;  that  he  always  lived  re- 
markable temperately,  and  seldom  ate  flesh.  Till  his 
100th  year  he  scarcely  knew  what  sickness  was ;  and 
eight  days  before  his  end,  he  had  walked  three  miles. 

In  the  year  1792,  died,  in  the  Duchy  of  Holstein,  an 
industrious  day-laborer,  named  Stender,  in  the  103rd 
year  of  his  age.  His  food,  for  the  most  part,  was  noth- 
ing but  oatmeal  and  buttermilk.  He  rarely  ate  flesh ; 
and  what  he  used  was  always  much  salted.  He  scarcely 
ever  had  thirst,  and  therefore  drank  very  seldom.  He 
was  fond  of  smoking  tobacco.  In  his  old  age  he  first 
began  to  drink  tea,  and  sometimes  coffee.  He  lost  his 
teeth  early.  He  was  never  sick ;  and  could  not  be  out 
of  humor  ;  that  is  to  say,  it  was  physically  impossible 
that  his  bile  should  ever  overflow.  He  avoided  with 
great  care  every  cause  of  strife  or  contention.  He 
had  the  greatest  trust  in  Providence ;  and  this  was  his 
consolation  and  support  in  all  his  misfortunes  and 
troubles.  His  chief  dependence  always  was  in  the 
goodness  of  God. 

One  of  the  most  singular  instances  that,  amidst  the 
ficklest  sports  of  fortune,  continual  danger,  and  the 
most  destructive  influences,  the  life  of  man  may  be  pre- 
served to  an  incredible  length,  is  the  following :  —  An 
old  soldier,  named  Mittelstedt,  died  in  Prussia,  in  the 
year  1792,  in  the  112th  year  of  his  age.  This  man 
was  born  at  Fissahn,  in  that  country,  in  the  month  of 
June,  1681 ;  and  was  lost  at  the  gaming-table  by  his 
master,  who  in  one  evening  staked  his  whole  equipage 


INSTANCES    OF    LONGEVITY.  89 

and  six  more  servants.  He  then  entered  into  the  army, 
and  served  as  a  soldier  sixty-seven  years.  He  was 
present  in  all  the  campaigns  under  Frederick  I.,  Fred- 
erick William  L,  and  Frederick  II.,  and,  in  particular, 
in  those  of  the  seven  years'  war ;  and  had  been  engaged 
in  seventeen  general  actions,  in  which  he  braved  num- 
berless dangers  and  received  many  wounds.  In  the 
seven  years'  war  his  horse  was  shot  under  him,  and  he 
was  then  taken  prisoner  by  the  Russians.  After  sup- 
porting all  these  difficulties,  he  married ;  and  having 
lost  two  wives  successively,  he  married  a  third,  in 
1790,  when  he  wras  in  the  110th  year  of  his  age.  A 
little  before  his  death  he  was  still  able  to  walk  two 
miles,  every  month,  in  order  to  receive  his  small  pension. 

The  same  year  died  at  Neus,  in  the  Archbishopric 
of  Cologne,  H.  Kauper,  a  veteran  of  112.  He  wns 
a  man  of  a  strong  make;  had  been  accustomed  to 
walk  a  little  every  day ;  could  read  till  his  death  with- 
out spectacles,  and  retained  the  use  of  his  senses  to  the 
last. 

Helen  Gray  died  a  few  years  ago,  in  the  105th  year 
of  her  age.  She  was  of  small  stature,  exceedingly 
lively,  peaceable,  and  good-tempered,  and  a  few  years 
before  her  death  acquired  new  teeth. 

Thomas  Garrick  was  alive  last  year,  (1795,)  in  the 
county  of  Fife,  in  the  108th  year  of  his  age.  He  still 
possessed  great  vigor ;  and  was  celebrated,  as  he  always 
had  been,  on  account  of  his  extraordinary  appetite.  For 
twenty  years  he  had  never  been  confined  to  his  bed  by 
sickness. 

Not  long  ago  there  was  still  alive  at  Tacony,  near 
Philadelphia,  a  shoemaker  named  R.  Glen,  in  the  114th 


90  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

year  of  his  age.  He  was  by  birth  a  Scotchman,  had 
seen  King  William  III.,  enjoyed  the  perfect  use  of  his 
sight  and  memory,  ate  and  drank  with  a  keen  appetite, 
had  a  good  digestion,  labored  the  whole  week,  and  on 
Sunday  walked  to  hear  divine  service  in  the  church 
at  Philadelphia.  His  third  wife  was  still  alive ;  she 
was  thirty  years  of  age,  and  lived  happily  with  her 
husband. 

A  certain  baron,  Baravicino  de  Capellis,  died  in  1770, 
at  Meran,  in  Tyrol,  at  the  age  of  104.  He  had  been 
married  to  four  wives :  the  first  he  married  in  his  four- 
teenth, and  the  last  in  his  eighty-fourth  year.  By  his 
fourth  wife  he  had  seven  children,  and  when  he  died 
she  was  pregnant  with  the  eighth.  The  vigor  of  his 
body  and  mind  did  not  forsake  him  till  the  last  months 
of  his  life.  He  never  used  spectacles,  and  when  at  a 
great  age  would  frequently  walk  a  couple  of  miles. 
His  usual  food  was  eggs  ;  he  never  tasted  boiled  flesh; 
sometimes  he  ate  a  little  roasted,  but  always  in  very 
small  quantity :  and  he  drank  abundance  of  tea  with 
rosa-solis*  and  sugar-candy. 

Anthony  Senish,  a  farmer  of  the  village  of  Puy,  in 
Limoges,  died  in  1770,  in  the  lllth  year  of  his  age. 
He  labored  till  within  fourteen  days  of  his  death; 
had  still  his  teeth  and  his  hair;  and  his  sight  had 
not  failed  him.  His  usual  food  was  chestnuts  and 
Turkish  corn.  He  had  never  been  bled,  nor  used  any 
medicine. 

These  are  all  the  instances  of  great  age  in  modern 
times  with  which  I  am  'acquainted.  Persons  of  100 
years  I  omit,  for  these  are  more  common.  A  carpenter 

*  A  plant  having  the  character  of  being  a  "cordial." — EDITOR. 


LONGEVITY    OF   PHYSICIANS.  91 

died  a  few  years  ago  at  Btirgel,  near  this  place,  in  his 
104th  year.  He  worked  daily  till  his  death ;  and  his 
favorite  employment,  at  last,  was  spinning  yarn.  One 
day,  as  he  was  sitting  at  his  wheel,  his  daughter  ob- 
served it  motionless ;  she  immediately  went  up  to  him, 
and  found  him  dead. 

Physicians,  who  so  abundantly  dispense  to  others  the 
means  of  health  and  life,  ought  to  claim  here  a  distin- 
guished place.  But  unfortunately  this  is  not  the  case. 
It  may  be  said  of  them,  in  general :  Aliis  inserviendo 
consumuntur;  aliis  medendo  moriuntur.* 

At  any  rate,  mortality  is  greater  among  practical 
physicians  than  perhaps  among  men  of  any  other  pro- 
fession. They  have  the  least  opportunity  of  observing 
those  prudential  rules  and  precautions,  for  preserving 
health,  which  they  lay  down  to  others ;  and  there  are 
few  employments  in  which  the  powers  both  of  the  body 
and  mind  are  exposed  to  so  much  consumption  as  in 
this.  Head  and  feet  must  be  always  exercised  in  com- 
mon. But  the  greatest  mortality  prevails  during  the 
first  ten  years  of  their  practice.  A  physician  who  has 
fortunately  withstood  that  period,  attains  to  a  certain 
strength  of  constitution,  a  kind  of  insensibility  to  fatigue 
and  the  causes  of  disease ;  by  custom,  noxious  effluvia 
and  the  poison  of  infectious  disorders  becomes  less  pre- 
judicial; and  he  acquires  more  indifference  for  the 
heart-melting  scenes  of  woe,  and  the  numberless  mise- 
ries, the  consequences  of  vice  and  moral  evil,  which  his 
business  condemns  him  to  be  a  daily  spectator  of:  and 

*  In  serving  others  they  are  consumed ;  in  healing  others  they 
are  destroyed.  —  EDITOR. 


92  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

thus  a  physician  who  has  luckily  passed  his  time  of 
probation,  may  become  an  old  man; 

A  striking  instance  of  this  is  afforded  by  our  prede- 
cessor, Hippocrates,  who  lived  to  the  age  of  109.  His 
whole  life  was  employed  in  the  study  of  Nature,  in 
travelling,  and  in  visiting  the  sick ;  but  he  passed  more 
of  his  time  in  small  villages  and  in  the  country  than  in 
great  cities.  Galen,  Crato,  Forestus,  Plater,  Hoffman, 
Haller,  Van  Swieten,  and  Boerhaave  all  attained  to  a 
considerable  age.* 

In  regard  to  shortness  of  life,  miners,  and  those  em- 
ployed in  melting-houses,  are  particularly  distinguished, 
as  well  as  those  who  live  under  the  earth,  or  are  con- 
tinually exposed  to  poisonous  effluvia.  In  some  mines, 
which  contain  much  arsenic  and  cobalt,  the  workmen 
do  not  live  to  be  older  than  thirty. 

I  shall  now  take  a  short  view  of  the  difference  of 
age,  as  arising  from  climate,  or  rather  the  nature  of  the 
soil. 

Sweden,  Norway,  Denmark,  and  England  have,  in 


*  The  following  list  embraces  a  few  distinguished  names  of 
medical  philosophers  who  have  attained  an  advanced  age  : — 


Boerhaave     .        .        .        .70 
Haller        ....        70 

Tissot 70 

Gall 71 

Darwin          .         .         .         .72 


Harvey          .        .        .  .81 

Mead          ....  81 

Duhamel,      .        .        .  .82 

Astruc        .  83 


Hoffman  .  .  .  .  "83 
Van  Swieten  ...  72  Pinel  ....  84 
Fallopius  .  .  .  .72  Swedenborg .  .  .  .85 
Jenner  .  .  .  .  75  Morgagni  ....  89 

Heister 75     Heberden       .        .        .        .92 

Cullen        ....        78     Ruysch      ....        93 

Galen 79  ,  Hippocrates       .        .        .109 

Spallanzani        .        .        .        79  I  — EDITOK. 


LONGEVITY   OF   NATIONS.  93 

modern  times,  without  doubt,  produced  the  oldest  men.* 
Instances  of  some  who  attained  to  the  age  of  130,  140, 
150,  have  occurred  in  these  countries. 

However  favorable  a  northern  climate  may  be  to 
longevity,  too  great  a  degree  of  cold  is,  on  the  other 
hand,  prejudicial  to  it.  In  Iceland,  and  the  northern 
parts  of  Asia,  such  as  Siberia,  men  attain  at  most  to  the 
age  of  sixty  or  seventy. 

Besides  England  and  Scotland,  Ireland  is  celebrated 
for  the  longevity  of  its  inhabitants.  In  Dunsford,  a 
small  place  in  that  country,  there  were  living,  at  one 
time,  eighty  persons  above  the  age  of  fourscore.  And 
Lord  Bacon  says  there  was  not  a  village  in  the  whole 
island,  as  he  believed,  in  which  there  was  not  one  man 
upwards  of  eighty. 

In  France,  instances  of  longevity  are  not  so  abun- 
dant ;  though  a  man  died  there,  in  the  year  1757,  at  the 
age  of  121. 

The  case  is  the  same  in  Italy ;  yet  in  the  northern 
province  of  Lombardy  there  have  been  some  instances 
of  great  age. 

In  Spain,  also,  there  have  been  some  instances,  though 
seldom,  of  men  who  lived  to  the  age  of  110. 

That  healthy  and  beautiful  country,  Greece,  is  still 
as  celebrated  as  it  was  formerly  in  regard  to  longevity. 
Tournefort  found,  at  Athens,  an  old  consul  who  was 

*  In  England,  during  the  seven  years  1838-44,  there  died  at 
the  age  of  100  and  upwards,  788  persons  ;  namely,  256  males,  and 
532  females  :  giving  an  average  of  112  1-2  annually.  Of  this 
number  a  very  small  proportion,  namely  72  (27  males,  45  females), 
were  returned  from  London;  while  137  (43  males,  94  females), 
were  inhabitants  of  Wales.  —  EDITOR. 


94  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

118  years  of  age.  The  island  Naxos  is  particularly 
celebrated  on  this  account. 

Even  in  Egypt  and  India  there  are  instances  of 
long  life,  particularly  among  the  Bramins,  Anchorites, 
and  Hermits,  who  detest  the  indolence  and  intemperance 
of  the  other  inhabitants  of  these  countries. 

Ethiopia  formerly  was  much  celebrated  for  its  lon- 
gevity ;  but  a  contrary  account  is  given  of  it  by  Bruce. 

Some  districts  of  Hungary  are  particularly  distin- 
guished by  the  great  age  of  the  people  who  reside  in 
them. 

Germany  contains  abundance  of  old  persons ;  but 
it  affords  few  instances  of  very  long  life. 

Even  in  Holland  people  may  become  old ;  but  this  is 
not  often  the  case,  and  few  live  there  to  the  age  of  a 
hundred. 


CHAPTER    VI. 

Eesult  of  the  above  observations.  Age  of  the  world  has  no  influence- 
on  that  of  its  inhabitants.  -Influence  of  climate  and  of  the  atmos- 
phere. Islands  and  peninsulas.  Countries  in  Europe  most  favor- 
able to  longevity.  Advantages  of  temperance.  The  two  most 
dreadful  extremes  of  mortality  in  modern  times.  Moderation  in 
all  things  has  great  effect  in  prolonging  life.  State  of  marriage. 
Female  sex.  Industry.  Frugality.  Civilization.  Rural  life. 
Renovation  possible.  Extent  of  human  life  determined.  Absolute 
and  relative  duration  of  it.  Tables  respecting  the  latter. 

THAT  1  may  not  tire  the  patience  of  my  readers  by 
too  great  a  multitude  of  examples,  I  shall  here  stop,  and, 
in  future,  introduce  them  only  occasionally,  as  the  sub- 
ject may  require. 

Let  me  be  permitted,  therefore,  to  collect  the  general 
result  of  the  observations  above  made,  and  to  draw  from 
them  the  following  important  conclusions :  — 

I.  The  age  of  the  world  hitherto  has  had  no  percep- 
tible influence  on  that  of  man ;  and  people  may  still 
become  as  old  as  in  the  time  of  Abraham,  and  even  of 
earlier  epochs.  There  certainly  have  been  periods 
when  men  lived  sometimes  longer  and  sometimes  short- 
er ;  but  this  evidently  did  not  arise  from  the  world,  but 
from  man  himself.  When  men  were  in  a  savage  state, 
simple,  laborious  children  of  Nature,  and  much  exposed 
to  the  open  air,  as  shepherds,  hunters,  and  farmers, 
great  age  was  very  common  among  them ;  but  when 


96  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

they  began  gradually  to  despise  the  dictates  of  Nature, 
to  study  refinement,  and  to  indulge  in  luxury,  the  dura- 
tion of  their  life  became  shorter.  The  same  people, 
however,  restored  by  a  revolution  to  their  former  rude 
state,  and  to  manners  more  agreeable  to  Nature,  can 
again  attain  to  their  ancient  longevity.  These,  conse- 
quently, are  unsettled  periods,  which  only  pass  away 
and  return.  Mankind,  in  general,  do  not  suffer  by  them, 
and  retain  that  duration  of  life  which  is  appointed  for 
them. 

II.  Man,  as  we  have  above  seen,  can,  in  almost  all 
climates,  in  the  frigid  or  torrid  zone,  attain  to  a  great 
age.     The  only  difference  seems  to  be,  that  this  is  the 
case  in  some  much  more  than  in  others  ;  and  that  though 
man  can  attain  to  a  great  age,  people  in  general  do  not 
attain  to  the  greatest. 

III.  Even  in  districts  where  mortality  in  general  is 
very  great,  individuals  may  attain  to  a  greater  age  than 
in  places  where  general  mortality  is  less.     I  shall,  by 
way  of  example,  mention  the  warm  countries  of  the 
East.     There,  mortality,  upon  the  whole,  is  very  small : 
hence  their  extraordinary  population ;  and  infancy,  in 
particular,  suffers  there  much  less  on  account  of  the  con- 
tinually uniform  and  pure  temperature  of  the  atmos- 
phere.    Yet  a  much  smaller  proportion  of  old  people 
are  found  in  these  countries  than  in  the  northern,  where 
mortality  in  general  is  greater. 

IV.  Places,  the  situation  of  which  is  high,  have,  in 
general,  more  and  purer  air  than  those  which  stand 
low ;  though  here,  also,  there  is  a  certain  limitation,  and 
the  rule  cannot  be  thus  laid  down :  the  higher  the  better. 
The  greatest  degree  of  height,  the  glaciers,  is,  on  the 


INFLUENCE    OF    CLIMATE.  97 

contrary,  prejudicial  to  health ;  and  Switzerland,  with- 
out doubt  the  highest  land  in  Europe,  has  produced 
fewer  instances  of  longevity  than  Scotland.  For  this 
there  are  two  reasons :  First,  the  atmosphere  at  a  great 
height  is  too  dry,  ethereal,  and  pure,  and  consumes, 
therefore,  speedier.  Secondly,  the  temperature  of  it  is 
too  variable  ;  heat  and  cold  succeed  each  other  too  rap- 
idly ;  and  nothing  is  more  unfavorable  to  duration  of 
life  than  very  sudden  changes. 

V.  In  cold  climates,  men  in  general  become  older 
than  in  warm  ;  and  for  two  reasons  :  First,  because,  in. 
warm  countries  vital  consumption  is  greater ;  and  se- 
condly, because,  in  cold  countries,  the  climate,  being 
more  temperate,  checks  vital  consumption.  This,  how- 
ever, is  the  case  only  in  a  certain  degree.  By  the  high- 
est cold,  such  as  that  of  Greenland,  Nova  Zembla,  etc., 
the  duration  of  life  is  shortened. 

YI.  Uniformity  in  the  state  of  the  atmosphere,  parti- 
cularly in  regard  to  heat,  cold,  gravity,  and  lightness, 
contributes,  in  a  very  considerable  degree,  to  the  dura- 
tion of  life.  Countries,  therefore,  where  sudden  and 
great  variations  in  the  barometer  and  thermometer  are 
usual,  cannot  be  favorable  to  longevity.  Such  countries 
may  be  healthy,  and  many  men  may  become  old  i» 
them  ;  but  they  will  not  attain  to  a  great  age,  for  all 
rapid  variations  are  so  many  internal  revolutions ;  and 
these  occasion  an  astonishing  consumption,  both  of  the 
powers  and  the  organs.  In  this  respect  Germany  is 
particularly  distinguished;  for  its  situation  renders  it 
subject  to  a  continual  mixture  of  heat  and  cold,  of 
northern  and  southern  climate,  where  one  often  experi- 
ences, in  the  course  of  the  same  day,  both  frost  and  the 
7 


98  ART    OP   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

utmost  heat ;  and  where  the  month  of  March  may  be 
extremely  warm,  and  that  of  May  accompanied  with 
snow.  This  uncertainty  of  the  climate  of  Germany  is 
undoubtedly  the  principal  cause  that,  notwithstanding 
the  healthfulness  of  its  situation  in  other  points  of  view, 
and  though  in  general  people  attain  there  to  a  consider- 
able age,  instances  of  very  great  age  occur  much  more 
rarely  than  in  neighboring  countries  lying  almost  under 
the  same  degree  of  latitude. 

VII.  Too  high  a  degree  of  dryness,  as  well  as  too 
great  moisture,  are  unfavorable  to  duration  of  life.  Air, 
therefore,  which  contains  a  mixture  of  fine  moisture,  is 
the  best  for  attaining  to  great  age.  The  reasons  are  as 
follow :  Moist  air,  being  in  part  already  saturated,  has 
less  attractive  power  over  bodies ;  that  is  to  say,  con- 
sumes them  less.  Besides,  in  a  moist  atmosphere  there 
is  always  more  uniformity  of  temperature ;  and  fewer 
rapid  revolutions  of  heat  and  cold  are  possible.  Lastly, 
.an  atmosphere  somewhat  moist  keeps  the  organs  longer 
pliable  and  youthful ;  whereas  that  which  is  too  dry 
brings  on  much  sooner  aridity  of  the  vessels,  and  all  the 
characteristics  of  old  age. 

A  most  striking  proof  of  this  is  afforded  by  islands ; 
for  we  find  that  these,  as  well  as  peninsulas,  have  at  all 
times  been,  and  still  are,  the  cradles  of  old  age.  In 
islands  mankind  always  become  older  than  in  continents 
lying  under  the  same  degree  of  latitude.  Thus  men 
live  longer  in  the  islands  of  the  Archipelago  than  in  the 
neighbouring  countries  of  Asia;  in  Cyprus,  than  in 
Syria ;  in  Formosa  and  Japan,  than  in  China ;  and  in 
England  and  Denmark,  than  in  Germany. 

Salt  water  also  is  more  favourable  to  longevity  than 


INFLUENCE    OF    CLIMATE.  99 

fresh  ;  and  for  that  reason  seafaring  people  can  become 
so  old.  Stagnated  fresh  water,  on  the  other  hand,  is 
hurtful,  by  its  mephitic  evaporation. 

VIII.  A  great  deal  seems  to  depend  likewise  on  the 
ground  and  soil,  in  a  word,  on  the  whole  genius  loci  ; 
and  in  this  respect  a  cold  soil  appears  to  be  the  least 
calculated  to  promote  longevity. 

IX.  According  to   experience,  England,  Denmark, 
Sweden,  and  Norway,  are  the  countries  where  men  at- 
tain to  the  greatest  age ;  and  we  find  by  accurate  obser- 
vation, that  all  the  before-mentioned  properties  are  in 
these  united.    On  the  other  hand,  Abyssinia,  some  parts 
of  the  West  Indies,  and  Surinam,  are  countries  where 
the  life  of  man  is  shortest. 

X.  The  more  a  man  follows  Nature,  and  is  obedient 
to  her  laws,  the  longer  he  will  live;  the    further  he 
deviates  from  these,  the  shorter  will  be  his  existence. 
This  is  one  of  the  most  general  of  laws.     In  the  same 
districts,  therefore,  as  long  as  the  inhabitants  lead  a 
temperate  life,  as  shepherds  or  hunters,  they  will  attain 
to  old  age ;  but  as  soon  as  they  become  civilized,  and 
by  these  means  sink  into  luxury,  dissipation,  and  cor- 
ruption, their  duration  of  life  will  be  shortened.     It  is, 
therefore,  not  the  rich  and  great,  not  those  who  take 
gold  tinctures  and  wonder-working  medicines,  who  be- 
come old ;  but  country  labourers,  farmers,  mariners,  and 
such  men  as  perhaps  never  in  their  lives  employed  their 
thoughts  on  the  means  which  must  be  used  to  promote 
longevity.     It  is  among  these  people  only  that  the  most 
astonishing  instances  of  it  are  to  be  observed. 

XI.  The  most  dreadful  degree  of  human  mortality, 
occasioned  by  two  inventions  of  modern  times,  is  to  be 


100  ART     OF    PROLONGING     LIFE. 

found  among  the  slaves  in  the  West  Indies,  and  in 
hospitals  for  foundlings.  Of  the  negro  slaves,  one  in 
five  or  six  dies  annually ;  a  proportion  equal  to  that 
which  takes  place  during  the  ravages  of  the  most  in- 
veterate pestilence.  And  of  7000  children  who  are 
every  year  brought  into  the  foundling  hospital  at  Paris, 
180  only  are  alive  at  the  end  of  ten  years  ;  so  that  6820 
perish,  and  no  more  than  one  in  forty  escapes  from  that 
sepulchre.  Is  it  not  highly  worthy  of  remark,  and  a 
new  proof  of  our  former  position,  that  mortality  prevails 
in  the  greatest  degree  where  men  deviate  farthest  from 
Nature  ;  where  her  most  sacred  laws  are  despised  ;  and 
where  her  first  and  strongest  bonds  are  torn  asunder  ? 
Where  man,  in  the  most  evident  manner,  sinks  below 
the  brute,  there  the  child  is  dragged  from  its  mother's 
breast,  and  consigned  helpless  to  the  care  of  hirelings ; 
there  one  brother  is  separated  from  another,  from  his 
home,  from  his  native  soil,  and  transferred  to  a  strange 
and  unhealthy  climate,  where,  without  hope,  without 
comfort,  and  without  enjoyment,  while  his  heart  con- 
tinually sighs  after  those  he  left  behind,  he  pines  to 
death,  oppressed  with  severity  and  labor.  I  am  ac- 
quainted with  no  contagion,  no  plague,  no  state  of  man- 
kind, either  in  ancient  or  modern  times,  during  which 
mortality  prevailed  to  the  degree  which  it  does  in  or- 
phan-houses. To  produce  this  evil  required  an  excess 
of  refinement  reserved  only  for  the  most  modern  times. 
It  required  the  aid  of  those  wretched  political  calcula- 
tors who  can  assert  that  the  State  is  the  best  motheiy 
and  that  nothing  more  is  necessary  to  increase  popula- 
tion than  to  declare  children  to  be  its  property,  to  place 
them  under  its  protection,  and  to  establish  a  public  abyss, 


INFLUENCE     OF    MARRIAGE.  101 

which  may  swallow  them  up.  People  now  see,  when  it 
is  too  late,  the  horrid  consequences  of  this  unnatural 
maternity;  this  contempt  of  the  first  grand  pillar  of 
human  society,  marriage  and  parental  duty.  In  so 
dreadful  a  manner  does  Nature  avenge  every  trans- 
gression of  her  most  sacred  commands. 

XII.  The  result  of  all  experience,  and  a  principal 
ground  of  longevity,  is,  omnia  mediocria  ad  vitam  pro- 
longandam  sunt  utilia.     Moderation  in  £very  thing,  the 
aurea  mediocritas,  so  much  extolled  by  Horace,  and 
which  Plume  calls  the  best  thing  on  earth,  is  indeed  of 
the  utmost  efficacy  in  prolonging  life.      In  a  certain 
mediocrity  of  condition,  climate,  health,  temperament, 
constitution,    employment,    spirits,    diet,    etc.,  lies   the 
greatest   secret   for  becoming  old.     By  all  extremes, 
either  too  much  or  too  little,  too  high  or  too  low,  pro- 
longation of  life  is  impeded. 

XIII.  The  following  circumstance  also  is  worthy  of 
remark.     All  those  people  who  have  become  very  old, 
were  married  more  than  once,  and  generally  at  a  very 
late  period  of  life.     There  is  not  one  instance  of  a  bach- 
elor having  attained  to  a  great  age.     This  observation 
is  as  applicable  to  the  female  as  to  the  male  sex ;  and 
hence  it  would  appear  that  a  certain  abundance  in  the 
power  of  generation  is  favorable  to  longevity.     It  forms 
an  addition  to  the  vital  power ;  and  this  power  of  pro- 
creation seems  to  be  in  the  most  intimate  proportion  to 
that  of  regenerating  and  restoring  one's  self;  but  a  cer- 
tain regularity  and  moderation  are  requisite  in  the  em- 
ployment of  it ;  and  marriage  is  the  only  means  by 
which  these  can  be  preserved. 


102  ART    OF    PROLONGING   LIFE. 

The  greatest  example  of  this  is  a  Frenchman,  named 
De  Longueville,  who  lived  to  the  age  of  110.  He  had 
been  married  to  ten  wives ;  his  last  wife  he  married 
when  in  his  ninety-ninth  year,  and  she  bore  him  a  son 
when  he  was  in  his  hundred-and-first. 

XIV.  More  women  than  men  become  old ;  but  men 
only  attain  to   the  utmost  extent  of  longevity.     The 
equilibrium  and  pliability  of  the  female  body  seem,  for 
a  certain  time,  to  give  it  more  durability,  and  to  render 
it  less  susceptible  of  injury  from  destructive  influences. 
But  male  strength  is,  without  doubt,  necessary  to  arrive 
at  a  very  great  age.     More  women,  therefore,  become 
old  ;  but  fewer  very  old. 

XV.  In  the  first  half  of  man's  age,  an  active,  even  a 
fatiguing  life,  is  conducive  to  longevity ;  but  in  the  last 
half,  a  life  that  is  peaceful  and  uniform.     No  instance 
can  be  found  of  an  idler  having  attained  to  a  remarka- 
bly great  age. 

XVI.  Rich  and  nourishing  food,  and  an  immoderate 
use  of  flesh,  do  not  prolong  life.    Instances  of  the  great- 
est age  are  to  be  found   among  men  who  from  their 
youth  have  lived  principally  on  vegetables,  and  who 
perhaps  never  tasted  flesh. 

XVII.  A  certain  degree  of  cultivation  is  physically 
necessary  for  man,  and  promotes  duration  of  life.    The 
wild  savage  does  not  live  so  long  as  man  in  a  state  of 
civilization.  , 

XVIII.  To  live  in  the  country  and  in  small  towns,  is 
favorable  to  longevity :  to  live  in  great  towns  is  unfa- 
vorable.    In  great  cities,  from  one  in  twenty-five  to  one 
in  thirty  die  every  year ;  in  the  country,  from  one  in 


RENOVATION    IN    OLD   AGE. 


103 


forty  to  one  in  fifty.*  Mortality  among  children  is  in 
particular  much  increased  by  living  in  great  cities,  so 
that  one  half  of  those  who  are  born  die  generally  before 
the  third  year;  whereas,  in  the  country,  the  half  are  not 
carried  off  until  the  twentieth  or  thirtieth.f  The  small- 

*  The  data  upon  which  Hufeland  founded  these  statements 
were  of  a  very  inefficient  character,  as  compared  with  those  which 
we  possess  at  the  present  day,  in  the  labors  of  the  Registrar-Gen- 
eral. Thus,  instead  of  the  mortality  of  large  cities  ranging  from 
1  in  25  to  1  in  30,  the  highest  known  rate  of  mortality,  namely 
that  of  Liverpool,  is  1  in  30 ;  while  in  the  metropolis  of  London 
it  is  only  1  in  40.  In  the  country,  taking  as  examples,  Kent, 
Surrey,  and  Northumberland,  it  ranges  between  one  in  51,  and  1 
in  71  1-2.  In  further  illustration  of  this  subject,  I  have  selected 
the  following  examples  from  the  Registrar-General's  Report  on 
the  Mortality  of  England  during  the  Seven  Years  1838-44 :  — 


MALES. 

All  England  1  in  44 


FEMALES. 

1  in  47  1-2 


Liverpool 1  "  28     .     .     1  "  32 

London 1  "  37     .     .         "43 

Kent "  48     .     .         "54 

Surrey  (rural) "  54     .     .         "57 

Thanct  and  Eastry  ...  "  54  .  .  "64 
Hendon  and  Barnet  ...  "  61  .  .  "63 
Bideford  and  Holsworthy  .  "  61  .  .  "  65 
Godstone,  Reigate,  Dorking  "65  .  .  1  "  62 
Northumberland  (3  districts)  "71  .  .  1  "  72 

—  EDITOR. 

t  According  to  the  Registrar-General's  report  on  the  mortality 
of  children,  nearly  one  half  of  all  that  are  born  alive  die  before 
the  end  of  the  fifth  year  in  Liverpool ;  while  the  same  number  in 
London  live  to  the  age  of  33  ;  and  in  the  county  of  Surrey  to  50. 
In  1845  nearly  one  half  of  all  the  children  born  in  Birmingham 
died  under  five  years  of  age  ;  the  entire  half  in  Manchester  died 
in  the  same  period ;  and  more  than  one  half  in  Liverpool.  In 
London  the  proportion  was  between  one  half  and  one  third ;  and. 
in  Wales  less  than  one  third. — EDITOR. 


104  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

est  degree  of  human  mortality  is  one  in  sixty  annually; 
and  this  proportion  is  found  only  here  and  there  among 
country  people.* 

XIX.  Among  some  men  a  kind  of  renovation  seems 
to  be  really  possible.  In  several  instances  of  great  age 
it  has  been  remarked  that  persons  in  their  sixtieth  or 
seventieth  year,  when  others  cease  to  live,  acquired 
new  teeth  and  new  hair,  and  commenced  as  it  were  a 
new  period  of  life,  which  continued  twenty  or  thirty 
years  longer :  a  kind  of  self-reproduction  which  is  to  be 
observed  only  among  the  more  imperfect  part  of  the 
creation,  t 

The  most  remarkable  instance  of  this  kind  with  which 
I  am  acquainted,  is  an  old  magistrate  named  Bamberg, 
who  lived  at  Rechingen  in  the  Palatinate,  and  who  died, 
in  1791,  in  the  120th  year  of  his  age.  In  1787,  long 
after  he  had  lost  all  his  teeth,  eight  new  ones  grew  up. 
At  the  end  of  six  months  they  again  dropped  out,  but 
their  place  was  supplied  by  other  new  ones,  both  in  the 
upper  and  lower  jaw  ;  and  Nature,  unwearied,  continued 
this  labor  four  years,  and  even  till  within  a  month  of 
his  death.  After  he  had  employed  his  new  teeth  for 
some  time  with  great  convenience  in  chewing  his  food, 

*  In  Northumberland,  as  is  shown  in  the  above  table,  it  is  1  in 
71  1-2.— EDITOR. 

t  In  my  work  on  "  Healthy  Skin  "  I  have  mentioned  several  in- 
stances of  very  old  persons  in  whom  the  natural  color  of  the  hair 
returned  after  they  had  been  for  years  before  grey.  This  was  the 
case  with  John  Weeks,  who  lived  to  the  age  of  114.  Sir  John 
Sinclair  reports  a  similar  occurrence  in  an  old  Scotchman,  who 
lived  to  be  110;  and  Susan  Edmonds,  when  in  her  95th  year, 
Tecovered  her  black  hair,  but  became  again  grey  previously  to  her 
death,  at  the  age  of  105.  —  EDITOR. 


NATURAL  DURATION   OF    LIFE.  105 

they  took  their  leave,  and  new  ones  immediately  sprang 
up  in  some  of  the  sockets.  All  these  teeth  he  acquired 
and  lost  without  any  pain ;  and  the  whole  number  of 
them  amounted  at  least  to  fifty. 

By  the  observations  already  made,  we  are  now  ena- 
bled to  come  to  a  conclusion  respecting  the  important 
question :  What  is  the  proper  term  or  'boundary  of 
human  life  ?  One  might  believe  that  some  degree  of 
certainty  could  be  acquired  on  this  point;  but  it  is  in- 
credible what  difference  in  opinion  respecting  it  prevails 
among  philosophers.  Some  allow  man  a  very  long,  and 
others  a  very  short  duration  of  life.  Some  are  of 
opinion  that,  to  determine  it,  nothing  is  necessary  but 
to  examine  to  what  extent  it  is  carried  among  savages, 
because  in  that  state  of  Nature  the  utmost  period  of 
life  must  be  discovered  with  the  greatest  precision. 
This,  however,  is  false.  It  ought  to  be  considered  that 
this  state  of  Nature  is  likewise,  for  the  most  part,  a 
state  of  misery,  where  the  want  of  society  and  civiliza- 
tion obliges  men  to  waste  themselves,  and  to  undergo 
fatigue  superior  to  their  strength  ;  and  where,  in  conse- 
quence of  their  situation,  they  are  exposed  to  more 
destructive  influences,  and  enjoy  much  fewer  means  of 
restoration.  We  must  not  take  our  examples  from  the 
class  of  savages ;  for  these,  in  their  properties,  partici- 
pate with  the  inferior  animals :  but  from  that  class 
where  man,  by  culture  and  civilization,  has  really  be- 
come a  rational  being ;  for  he  has  then  in  a  physical 
sense  first  attained  to  his  destination  and  preeminence, 
and,  by  the  help  of  reason,  has  procured  those  means 
of  restoration  from  without,  and  that  happiness  of  situ- 
ation, which  it  is  possible  for  him  to  acquire.  It  is  then 


106  ART    OF  PROLONGING  LIFE. 

only  that  we  can  consider  him  as  a  man,  and  collect 
examples  from  his  condition. 

One  might  also  believe  that  death  by  marasmus,  that 
is  to  say,  by  old  age,  is  the  true  boundary  of  human 
life.  But  this  reasoning,  in  the  present  times,  is  at- 
tended with  great  deception  ;  for,  as  Lichtenburg  says, 
men  have  found  out  the  art  to  ingraft  old  age  upon 
themselves  before  the  time  ;  and  one  may  see  very  old 
people  of  thirty  or  forty,  who  have  every  symptom  of 
extreme  age,  such  as  stiffness  and  aridity,  weakness, 
grey  hair,  ossified  cartilages,  etc.,  which  are  observed 
very  rarely  but  among  persons  who  have  attained  to 
the  age  of  eighty  or  ninety.  This,  however,  is  an  arti- 
ficial relative  old  age ;  and  such  a  standard  cannot  be 
employed  in  a  calculation  which  has  for  its  object  the 
duration  of  the  life  of  man  in  general. 

Some,  therefore,  have  invented  the  most  singular 
hypotheses  to  answer  this  question.  The  ancient  Egyp- 
tians, for  example,  believe  that  the  heart  increased  two 
drachms  annually  in  weight  for  fifty  years,  and  de- 
creased again  fifty  years  in  the  same  proportion.  In 
the  hundredth  year,  according  to  this  supposition,  no 
more  heart  remained  ;  and,  consequently,  the  hun- 
dredth year  was  the  term  or  boundary  of  human  life. 
To  answer  this  question  in  a  satisfactory  manner,  one 
must,  in  my  opinion,  make  the  following  essential  dis- 
tinction : 

1.  How  long  can  man  exist,  in  general,  considered 
as  a  race  ;  and  what  is  the  absolute  duration  of  his  life  ? 
We  know  that  each  class  of  animals  has  a  certain  abso- 
lute duration  of  life,  and  the  case  must  be  the  same 
with  man. 


NATURAL    DURATION    OF    LIFE.  107 

2.  How  long  can  man  live  as  an  individual;  and 
what  is  the  relative  duration  of  his  life  ? 

With  regard  to  the  first  question,  the  research  re- 
specting the  absolute  duration  of  human  life,  there  is 
nothing  to  prevent  us  from  giving  it  the  utmost  extent 
to  which,  according  to  experience,  it  is  possible  for  it  to 
attain.  It  is  here  sufficient  to  know  what  man's  nature 
is  capable  of;  and  a  man  who  has  attained  to  the  far- 
thest .boundary  of  mortal  existence,  may  be  considered 
as  a  pattern  of  human  nature  in  its  utmost  perfection, 
and  as  an  instance  of  what  is  possible  for  it  under  favor- 
able circumstances.  Now,  experience  incontestably 
tells  us,  that  a  man  still  may  attain  to  the  age  of  150 
or  1 60  years, ;  and  what  is  of  the  greatest  importance 
is,  that  the  instance  of  Thomas  Parr,  whose  body  was 
opened  in  his  152nd  year,  proves  that,  even  at  this  ajc, 
the  state  of  the  internal  organs  may  be  so  perfect  and 
sound  that  one  might  certainly  live  some  time  longer ; 
and  that  no  doubt  would  have  been  the  case  with  him, 
had  not  the  manner  in  which  he  lived,  by  his  not  being 
accustomed  to  it,  brought  on  a  plethora  which  proved 
mortal.  We  may,  therefore,  with  the  greatest  proba- 
bility, assert,  that  the  organization  and  vital  power  of 
man  are  able  to  support  a  duration  and  activity  of  200 
years. 

This  assertion  Acquires  some  weight  by  our  finding 
that  it  agrees  with  the  proportion  between  the  time  of 
growth  and  the  duration  of  life.  One  may  lay  it  down 
as  a  rule,  that  an  animal  lives  eight  times  as  long  as  it 
grows.  Now,  man  in  a  natural  state,  where  the  period 
of  maturity  is  not  hastened  by  art,  requires  full  twenty- 


108  ART     OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

five  years  to  attain  his  complete  growth  and  conforma- 
tion ;  and  this  proportion  also  will  give  him  an  absolute 
age  of  200  years. 

It  needs  not  be  objected  that  great  age  is  the  unnatu- 
ral state,  or  an  exception  from  the  rule ;  and  that  a 
shorter  life  is  properly  the  natural  condition.  We  shall 
see  hereafter,  that  almost  all  those  kinds  of  death  which 
take  place  before  the  hundredth  year  are  brought  on  arti- 
ficially, —  that  is  to  say,  by  disease  or  accident ;  and  it 
is  certain  that  the  far  greater  part  of  men  die  an  unna- 
tural death,  and  that  not  above  one  in  a  thousand  attains 
to  the  age  of  a  hundred  years. 

But  with  regard  to  the  relative  duration  of  human 
life :  that,  indeed,  is  extremely  variable,  and  as  differ- 
ent as  each  individual.  It  is  regulated  according  to  the 
goodness  or  badness  of  the  mass  of  which  the  person  is 
formed  ;  his  manner  of  living ;  speedier  or  slower  con- 
sumption ;  and  a  thousand  internal  and  external  cir- 
cumstances which  may  have  an  influence  on  the  contin- 
uance of  his  existence.  We  must  not  imagine  that  every 
man,  at  present,  brings  with  him  into  the  world  a  vital 
stock  capable  of  lasting  150  or  200  years.  It  is  unfor- 
tunately the  fate  of  our  generation,  that  the  sins  of  the 
father  often  communicate  to  the  embryo  a  far  shorter 
stamen  vitce.*  Let  us  only  reflect  on  the  innumerable 
host  of  diseases  and  accidents  which  openly  and  secretly 
prey  upon  our  lives,  and  we  sjiall  clearly  see  that  it  is 
now  far  more  difficult  than  ever  to  attain  to  thaU  term 
which  human  nature  is  really  capable  of  reaching. 
That  term,  however,  we  must  make  our  foundation ; 

*  Thread  of  life.  —EDITOR. 


RELATIVE    DURATION    OF    LIFE.  109 

and  we  shall  afterwards  examine  how  far  it  may  be  in 
our  power  to  remove  those  obstacles  which  prevent  us 
at  present  from  arriving  at  it. 

The  following  table,  founded  on  experience,  may 
serve  as  a  proof  of  the  relative  duration  of  human  life 
at  present. 

Of  a  hundred  men  who  are  born, 

50  die  before  the  10th  year, 

20  between  10  and  20 

10         «       20    "    30 

6         "       30    "    40 

5         "       40    "    50 

3         "       50    "    60 

Therefore,  6  only  live  to  be  above  the  age  of  60. 
Haller,  who  collected  the  greatest  number  of  instances 
respecting  the  age  of  man,  found  the  relative  duration 
of  life  to  be  in  the  following  proportion  : — 

Of  men  who  lived  from  100  to  110  years  the  in- 
stances have  been  1000 

110  to  120 60 

120  "130 29 

130  "140 15 

140  "  150 6 

169  1 


CHAPTER    VII. 

More  particular  examination  of  human  life.  Essential  definition  of 
it.  Principal  operations  on  which  it  depends.  Accession  from 
without.  Assimilation  and  Animalization.  Nutrition  and  prepa- 
ration of  the  organized  matter.  Power  and  organs  consumed  by 
life  itself.  Separation  and  destruction  of  exhausted  parts.  Organs 
necessary  for  life.  History  of  life.  Causes  of  the  long  duration 
of  the  life  of  man.  Influence  of  reason  and  the  higher  powers  of 
thought.  Answer  to  the  question,  Why,  among  men  who  are  more 
fitted  for  long  life  than  animals,  mortality,  however,  should  be 
greater  ? 

WE  now  come  to  our  principal  object,  the  application 
of  the  foregoing  premises  to  the  prolongation  of  human 
life.  But  before  we  can  be  able  to  accomplish  this 
point,  we  must  first  thoroughly  examine  the  following 
questions  :  In  what  does  the  life  of  man  properly  con- 
sist ?  On  what  organs,  powers,  and  disposition  of  parts 
does  this  important  operation,  and  the  duration  of  it, 
depend  ?  In  what  does  it  essentially  differ  from  the 
life  of  other  creatures  and  beings  ? 

Man,  without  doubt,  is  the  highest  link,  the  crown  of 
the  visible  creation ;  the  last,  the  most  complete,  and 
the  best  finished  production  of  the  plastic  power  of  Na- 
ture ;  the  highest  degree  of  its  self-representation  which 
our  eyes  are  capable  of  seeing,  or  our  senses  of  com- 
prehending. With  him  our  sublunary  prospect  is  closed ; 
he  is  the  extreme  point  with  which  and  in  which  the 
sensible  world  borders  on  a  higher  spiritual  world. 


ESSENTIAL    DEFINITION    OF    LIFE.  Ill 

The  organization  of  man  is,  as  it  were,  a  magic  band, 
by  which  two  worlds  of  a  totally  different  nature  are 
connected  and  conjoined ;  an  eternally  incomprehensi- 
ble wonder,  by  which  he  becomes,  at  the  same  time,  an 
inhabitant  of  these  two  worlds,  the  material  and  the  in- 
tellectual. 

One  may,  with  propriety,  consider  man  as  a  compen- 
dium of  Nature ;  as  a  masterpiece  of  conformation,  in 
which  all  the  active  powers  scattered  throughout  the 
rest  of  Nature,  all  kinds  of  organs  and  forms  of  life,  are 
united  in  one  whole,  act  in  concert,  and,  by  these  means, 
make  him,  in  the  strictest  sense,  a  little  world ;  a  copy 
and  epitome  of  the  greater,  as  he  was  so  often  called  by 
the  ancient  philosophers. 

His  life  is  the  most  expanded ;  his  organization  the 
most  delicate  and  best  finished;  his  juices  and  compo- 
nent parts  the  most  ennobled  and  best  prepared ;  and 
his  intensive  life  and  self-consumption  are,  therefore,  the 
strongest.  He  has,  consequently,  more  points  of  con- 
tact with  the  whole  of  Nature  by  which  he  is  sur- 
rounded, and  likewise  more  wants ;  but  he  has,  also,  a 
richer  and  more  perfect  restoration  than  any  other  being. 

The  inanimate  mechanical  and  chemical  powers  of 
Nature ;  the  organic  or  living  powers ;  and  that  spark 
of  divine  power,  the  power  of  thought,  —  are  here 
united  and  blended  together,  in  the  most  wonderful 
manner,  to  form  that  godlike  phenomenon  which  we  call 
the  life  of  man. 

Let  us  now  take  a  short  view  of  the  essence  and  me- 
chanism of  this  operation,  as  far  as  they  can  be  dis- 
covered. 

The  life  of  man,  considered  in  a  physical  view,  is 


112  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

nothing  else  than  an  incessant  ceasing  and  being ;  a 
continual  change  of  destruction  and  restoration  ;  an 
everlasting  contest  of  chemical,  decomposing  powers, 
with  all  the  combining  and  creative  vital  powers.  New 
component  parts  are  every  moment  collected  from  the 
whole  of  nature  that  surrounds  us  ;  called  to  life  from 
an  inanimate  state,  and  transferred  from  the  chemical 
to  the  organic  living  world ;  and  from  these  heteroge- 
neous particles  the  plastic  vital  power  produces  a  new 
uniform  mass,  which,  in  every  point,  is  stamped  with 
the  character  of  life.  But,  in  the  same  unceasing  man- 
ner, the  exhausted,  worn-out,  and  corrupted  component 
parts,  when  their  combination  is  dissolved,  become  sub- 
ject again  to  the  mechanical  and  chemical  powers, 
which  are  in  continual  contest  with  the  living  powers ; 
return  from  the  organic  to  the  chemical  world ;  and 
again  become  a  part  of  inanimate  nature  in  general, 
from  which  they  had  been  separated  for  a  short  time. 
This  uninterrupted  business  is  the  work  of  the  vital 
power  ever  active  within  us ;  and  is,  consequently,  at- 
tended with  an  incessant  exertion  of  that  power,  which 
is  an  important  part  of  vital  operation.  Life,  there- 
fore, is  a  continual  receiving,  appropriation,  and  giv- 
ing back ;  an  incessant  mixture  of  death  and  new  cre- 
ation. 

What  then,  in  a  common  sense,  we  call  the  life  of  a 
creature,  considered  as  a  representation,  is  nothing  else 
than  a  mere  phenomenon,  which  has  nothing  peculiar 
or  self-sub^istent  but  the  active  spiritual  power  which 
forms  the  ground  of  it,  and  which  binds  and  regulates 
the  whole.  All  the  rest  is  only  appearance ;  a  grand 
spectacle  continued,  where  the  thing  represented  does 


ESSENTIAL    OPERATIONS    OF    LIFE.  113 

not  remain  the  same  a  moment,  but  is  incessantly 
changing ;  where  the  whole  duration,  form,  and  figure 
of  the  representation  depend,  in  a  particular  manner,  on 
the  matter  employed,  which  is  always  varying,  and  on 
the  manner  in  which  it  is  used ;  and  the  whole  phenom- 
enon can  exist  no  longer  than  the  continued  influx  from 
without,  which  supplies  nourishment  for  the  process. 
Its  analogy  with  a  flame  is,  therefore,  very  great ;  only 
that  the  latter  is  merely  a  chemical,  and  life  a  chemico- 
animal  process,  a  chemico-animal  flame. 

The  life  of  man  then,  according  to  its  nature,  depends 
on  the  following  grand  operations : 

I.  Accession  and  reception  of  vital  nourishment  from 
without. 

By  nourishment  is  here  meant  not  merely  what  we 
call  food  and  drink,  but  much  rather  that  influx,  from 
the  atmosphere,  of  subtle,  spiritual,  vital  nourishment, 
which  seems  in  a  particular  manner  to  contribute  to- 
wards the  support  of  the  vital  power,  especially  as  the 
former  coarse  nourishing  substances  serve  more  for 
supporting  and  repairing  the  matter  of  the  body  and  of 
its  organs ;  in  a  word,  not  that  alone  which  passes 
through  the  mouth  and  the  stomach,  since  our  lungs  and 
skin  receive  an  abundance  of  vital  nourishment,  and, 
for  spiritual  support,  are  of  much  greater  importance 
than  the  stomach. 

II.  Appropriation,  assimilation^  and  animalization  ; 
transition   from   the   chemical  to    the   organic   world, 
through  the  influence  of  the  vital  power. 

Every  thing  that  enters  our  bodies  must  first  obtain 
the  character  of  life  before  it  can  be  called  ours.     All 
component  parts,  nay,  the  most  subtle  agents  of  Nature, 
8 


114  AIIT     OF     PROLONGING    LIFE. 

which  flow  into  us,  must  be  animalized  ;  that:is  to  say, 
be  so  modified  and  combined,  in  a  totally  new  manner, 
by  the  help  of  the  vital  power,  that  they  no  longer  act 
according  to  the  laws  of  inanimate  and  chemical  nature, 
but  according  to  the  peculiar  laws  of  organic  life,  and 
support  themselves  in  opposition  to  others.  In  short, 
as  component  parts  of  a  living  body,  they  cannot  be 
considered  singly,  but  always  as  compounded  according 
to  their  proper  nature  and  the  laws  of  the  vital  power. 
Every  thing  in  us,  even  chemical  and  mechanical  pow- 
ers, is,  therefore,  animalized  ;  and  this,  for  example,  is 
the  case  with  electricity,  and  oxygen  or  vital  air.  As 
goon  as  they  are  made  component  parts  of  a  living 
body,  they  become  compounded  nature  (animalized 
electricity,  animalized  oxygen,)  and  cannot  be  consid- 
ered merely  according  to  the  laws  and  influence  which 
they  had  in  common  nature,  but  as  subject  to,  and  act- 
ing under  specific  organic  laws.  These  observations 
are  applicable  not  only  to  oxygen,  but  also  to  other  new 
chemical  discoveries.  But  we  must  beware  of  ascrib- 
ing to  them  the  same  effects  in  the  vital  combination  of 
our  bodies,  as  those  which  we  perceive  them  to  have  in 
the  atmosphere ;  for  they  act  according  to  different  and 
specific  laws.  This  observation,  in  my  opinion,  cannot 
be  too  often  repeated ;  and  it  alone  may  guard  us  from 
error  in  the  highly  important  application  of  the  princi- 
ples of  chemistry  to  organic  life.  We,  without  doubt, 
have  these  chemical  powers  and  agencies  within  us,  and 
a  knowledge  of  them  is  indispensably  necessary ;  but 
their  method  of  operating  in  our  bodies  is  modified  in 
another  manner,  as  they  find  themselves  in  a  woild 
altogether  different. 


ESSENTIAL    OPERATIONS    OF    LIFE.  115 

This  important  business  of  assimilation  and  animali- 
zation  is  the  employment,  first  of  the  absorbing  and 
glandular  system,  in  its  widest  latitude  ;  not  merely  of 
the  lacteal  vessels,  but  also  of  the  absorbing  vessels  of 
the  skin  and  the  lungs,  which  may  be  called  the  vesti- 
bule, through  which  every  thing  that  is  to  form  a  part 
of  us  must  pass  ;  and,  secondly,  of  the  system  of  circu- 
lation, by  which  the  component  parts  are  prepared  and 
brought  to  organic  perfection. 

III.  Nutrition  ;    configuration   of   the   animalized 
component  parts  ;  farther  ennobling  of  them. 

The  component  parts,  fully  animalized,  are  now  in- 
corporated and  changed  into  organs  ;  and  this  opera- 
tion is  the  business  of  the  plastic  power.  By  the  pre- 
paration of  the  finer  and  more  perfect  secreting  vessels, 
these  organized  component  parts  are  brought  to  their 
highest  degree  of  purification  and  refinement ;  through 
the  brain  as  nervous  fluid,  and  through  the  organic  sys- 
tem as  organic  juices,  both  of  which  are  a  combination 
of  the  purest  organic  matter,  with  a  rich  abundance  of 
vital  power. 

IV.  Self-consumption  of  the  organs  and  poioers  by 
vital  exertion. 

Active  life  itself  is  an  incessant  exertion  of  agency 
and  power ;  and,  consequently,  attended  with  a  contin- 
ual waste  of  power  and  consumption  of  the  organs. 
Every  thing  in  which  the  power  shows  itself  as  an 
agent,  and  active,  is  exertion  ;  for  no  vital  exertion,  not 
even  the  smallest,  can  be  made  without  excitation  and 
reaction  of  the  power.  This  is  a  law  of  organic  nature. 
The  voluntary  and  insensible  internal  movements,  there- 
fore, of  circulation,  chylification,  assimilation,  and  secre- 


116  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

tion,  as  well  as  voluntary  movements,  and  those  pro- 
duced by  the  operations  of  the  mind,  are  continual 
exertions  of  power,  and  are  incessantly  consuming  both 
the  powers  and  the  organs. 

This  part  of  life  is  of  the  utmost  importance  in  re- 
gard to  its  duration  and  condition.  The  stronger  vital 
consumption  is,  the  speedier  life  will  be  wasted,  and  the 
shorter  must  be  its  duration  ;  but  if  it  be  too  weak,  the 
consequence  then  is  too  seldom  a  change  of  component 
parts,  imperfect  restoration,  and  a  bad  habit  of  body. 

V.  Separation  and  new  acquisition  of  component 
parts  ;  transition  of  them  from  the  organic  to  the  chemi- 
cal world,  and  their  union  again  ivith  inanimate  nature 
in  general. 

The  component  parts  which  have  been  used,  and 
which  can  no  longer  be  retained  in  this  combination, 
again  separate  themselves  from  it.  They  lose  the  in- 
fluence of  the  vital  power,  and  begin  to  be  decomposed, 
to  fly  off,  and  to  be  once  more  united  according  to  the 
pure  chemical  laws  of  Nature.  All  our  excretions, 
therefore,  carry  with  them  the  most  evident  traces  of 
decomposition,  a  process  merely  chemical,  which,  as 
such,  is  never  possible,  in  a  state  of  real  life.  The 
function  of  discharging  these  parts  from  the  body  is 
committed  to  the  organs  of  secretion  and  excretion, 
which  operate  with  continual  activity ;  the  intestines, 
kidneys,  liver,  and,  in  particular,  the  whole  surface  of 
the  skin  and  lungs.  These  perform  real  chemico-ani- 
mal  operations  ;  the  removal  of  the  parts  is  effected  by 
the  vital  power,  but  the  productions  are  entirely  chem- 
ical. 

These  grand  operations  constitute  life  in  general,  and 


ESSENTIAL    OPERATIONS    OF    LIFE.  117 

at  every  moment ;  for  they  are  continually  united,  con- 
tinually present,  and  <  inseparable  from  the  vital  opera- 
tion. 

The  organs  which  belong  to  life  have  in  part  been 
already  mentioned.  In  the  present  point  of  view  they 
may  be  most  conveniently  divided  into  three  classes  : 
Those  which  receive  and  prepare  ;  those  which  evacuate  ; 
and  those  which  keep  these  contrary  movements,  as  well 
as  the  whole  internal  economy,  in  equipoise  and  order. 
Many  thousands  of  greater  or  smaller  organs  are  con- 
tinually employed  in  separating  and  throwing  off  the 
particles  which  have  been  exhausted  and  corrupted  by 
the  internal  consumption.  Besides  the  evacuating  ducts, 
properly  so-called,  the  whole  surface  of  the  skin  and 
lungs  is  covered  with  myriads  of  secreting  organs  in 
continual  activity.  Equally  numerous  and  various  are 
the  passages  of  the  second  class,  those  of  restoration. 
It  is  not  sufficient  that  the  decrease  of  the  coarser  parts 
should  be  repaired  from  the  nourishment  by  means  of 
the  organs  of  digestion ;  the  lungs,  the  organs  of  respi- 
ration, are  also  continually  employed  to  draw  in,  from 
the  atmosphere,  nourishment,  vital  heat,  and  vital  power. 
The  heart,  and  the  circulation  of  the  blood,  which  is  de- 
pendent on  it,  serve  to  regulate  their  movements ;  to 
diffuse  to  all  points  the  received  heat  and  nourishment ; 
and  to  drive  off,  through  these  passages  of  excretion, 
those  particles  which  have  been  used  and  exhausted. 
All  these  operations  are  assisted  by  the  influence  of  the 
mental  powers  and  their  organs,  which  are  the  most 
perfect  in  man.  This,  indeed,  increases  intensive  life 
and  self-consumption,  but  at  the  same  time  it  is  a  highly 


118  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

important  means  of  restoration,  of  which  more  imper- 
fect beings  are  destitute. 

One  may  form  some  idea  of  the  extraordinary  self- 
consumption  of  the  human  body,  when  one  reflects  that 
the  pulsation  of  the  heart,  and  the  motion  of  the  blood 
connected  with  it,  take  place  100,000  times  every  day  ; 
that  is  to  say,  the  heart  and  all  the  arteries  are  con- 
tracted 100,000  times  daily,  with  such  force  as  is  able 
to  keep  a  resistance  of  from  fifty  to  sixty  pounds  of 
blood  in  continual  movement.  What  clock,  what  ma- 
chine of  the  hardest  iron,  would  not  by  such  use  be  in 
a  short  time  worn  out  ?  If  we  add  to  this  the  almost 
equally  incessant  muscular  motion  of  our  bodies,  which 
must  occasion  a  much  greater  wasting,  as  these  parts 
consist  more  of  tender  gelatinous  particles,  we  may  then 
have  a  pretty  just  conception  with  what  loss  of  sub- 
stance a  walk,  for  example  of  ten  miles,  or  a  rapid 
journey  of  thirty,  must  be  attended.  And  not  only 
soft  and  fluid  parts,  but  even  the  hardest,  are  gradually 
worn  out  by  continual  use.  This  may  be  clearly  per- 
ceived in  the  teeth,  which  are  evidently  destroyed  by 
long  use,  and  which,  on  the  other  hand,  by  being  not 
used,  that  is,  not  exposed  to  antagonists,  become  exceed- 
ingly long.  It  is  proved  that,  in  this  manner,  we  should 
be  very  soon  destroyed  were  there  no  reparation  ;  and 
it  has  been  estimated,  with  great  probability,  that  every 
three  months  our  bodies  are  no  longer  the  same,  but 
consist  of  entirely  new  particles. 

But  equally  wonderful  and  extraordinary  is  the  con- 
tinual reparation  of  those  parts  which  have  been  lost. 
This  may  be  readily  comprehended ;  because,  notwith- 


REPARATIVE     POWERS    OF    LIFE.  119 

standing  the  incessant  loss  which  we  sustain,  our  mass 
still  continues  the  same.  The  fluid  parts,  however, 
regenerate  themselves  soonest;  and  experience  has 
taught  us,  that  the  greatest  loss  of  blood  may  be  again 
repaired  in  fourteen  days.  The  solid  parts  reproduce 
themselves  by  the  same  power  and  mechanism  as  are 
employed  in  their  first  creation  ;  the  gelatinous  nourish- 
ing principle  is  conveyed  by  circulation  to  every  part 
of  the  body,  and  is  organized  according  to  the  plastic 
laws  of  the  different  parts.  The  bones  even  which  are 
the  hardest  become  regenerated,  as  is  proved  in  the 
experiment  with  madder,  by  the  use  of  which  the  bones 
in  a  short  time  become  red.  Whole  bones  lost  or 
decayed  can  renew  themselves  also;  and  one  finds 
sometimes  with  astonishment,  in  pieces  of  ivory,  the 
hardest  animal  body,  leaden  bullets,  which  must  have 
been  lodged  in  them  by  a  shot,  and  which  are  entirely 
surrounded  with  solid  bone.* 

*  The  fact  is  true,  but  the  explanation  removes  the  wonder. 
That  a  bullet  should  perforate  solid  ivory,  and  that  the  vacuity 
caused  by  its  passage  should  close  up  and  become  firm  and  solid 
is,  of  course,  impossible.  The  explanation  of  the  phenomenon 
is  as  follows  :  — The  tusk  of  the  elephant  continues  to  grow  as 
long  as  the  animal  lives ;  for  this  purpose  it  is  furnished  with  a 
permanent  producing  organ,  or  pulp,  which  occupies  the  root  of 
the  tusk.  The  pulp  is  conical  in  shape,  and,  as  it  is  constantly 
engaged  in  forming  successive  layers  of  ivory,  the  tooth  is  grad- 
ually pushed  forwards,  in  other  words,  it  grows.  Now,  if  a  bullet 
enter  the  substance  of  this  pulp  it  will,  in  time,  by  a  common 
process  of  expulsion  of  foreign  bodies,  reach  the  surface  of  the 
pulp  ;  and,  when  that  is  effected,  the  next  layer  of  ivory  formed 
by  the  pulp  will  be  deposited  between  the  pulp  and  the  bullet ; 
so  that  now  the  bullet  is  not  only  excluded  from  the  pulp,  but 


120  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

The  usual  progress  or  history  of  human  life  is,  in  a 
few  words,  as  follows :  — 

The  heart,  the  grand  source  of  all  vital  motion  as 
well  as  vital  diffusion,  and  the  grand  principle  of  the 
excreting  as  well  as  renovating  operations,  becomes 
always  smaller  in  proportion  to  the  increase  of  age ;  so 
that,  at  length,  it  occupies  an  eighth  part  of  the  space 
which  it  did  in  the  beginning  of  life.*  Its  substance 
also  becomes  always  thicker  and  harder ;  and  its  irrita- 
bility becomes  in  the  same  proportion  less.  The  active 
powers  then  decrease  more  and  more  every  year ;  and 
the  retarding  powers,  on  the  other  hand,  increase.  The 
same  thing  takes  place  in  the  whole  vascular  system, 
and  the  organs  of  motion.  All  the  vessels  become 
gradually  harder,  narrower,  more  shrivelled,  and  unfit 

the  pulp  has  covered  it  over  with  a  layer  of  ivory,  and  as  layer 
after  layer  of  new  ivory  is  formed,  the  bullet  becomes  more  and 
more  deeply  buried,  more  and  more  removed  from  the  pulp,  and 
eventually  may  be  found  in  the  solid  substance  of  the  ivory 
several  inches,  or  even  feet,  distant  from  its  original  bed. — 
EDITOR. 

*  Hufeland  must  have  meant  "  an  eighth  less  space  ; "  he 
could  hardly  have  intended  to  make  a  statement  so  perfectly 
erroneous  as  the  above,  upon  a  point  so  easily  put  to  the  proof. 
The  heart,  undoubtedly,  diminishes  a  little  in  size  in  healthy  old 
age ;  becomes  firmer  in  texture,  and  less  frequent  in  its  pulsa- 
tions ;  adapting  itself  in  fact  to  the  smaller  volume  of  blood  con- 
tained within  the  body;  but  the  amount  of  diminution  is  very 
trifling.  In  a  preceding  page  (106),  the  author  ridicules,  very 
justly,  the  hypothesis  of  the  ancient  Egyptians  concerning  the 
decrease  of  the  heart ;  and  in  the  examination  of  Thomas  Parr, 
to  which  lie  also  refers  (p.  87),  the  heart,  so  far  from  being 
diminished  in  size,  was  found  to  be  "great,  thick,  fibrous,  and 
fat." — EDITOR. 


CESSATION     OF   LIFE.  121 

for  use ;  the  arteries  are  ossified  and  a  great  many  of 
the  finer  vessels  are  entirely  closed  up. 

The  following,  therefore,  are  the  unavoidable  conse- 
quences :  — 

1st.  By  this  closing  up  and  becoming  shrivelled,  the 
most  important  and  finest  organs  of  vital  regeneration, 
the  passages  for  assimilation  and  external  accession,  the 
lungs,  skin,  absorbing  and  lacteal  vessels  become  de- 
ranged ;  and,  consequently,  the  addition  of  nourishing 
and  enlivening  component  parts  from  without  is  ren- 
dered weaker.  Nourishment  can  neither  be  received 
in  such  quantity,  nor  be  prepared  and  diffused  so  well 
as  before. 

2nd.  By  this  increasing  hardness  and  aridity  of  the 
vessels  they  lose  more  and  more  their  power  of  move- 
ment and  sensation.  Irritability  and  sensibility  decrease 
always  in  the  same  proportion  as  the  former  increase  ; 
and  the  active  and  spontaneous  powers  within  us  always 
give  more  place  to  the  destructive,  mechanical,  and 
chemical  powers. 

3rd.  By  the  decrease  of  the  motive  power,  and  the 
closing  up  of  innumerable  vessels,  excretion,  the  most 
indispensable  cause  of  our  continual  purification,  and  of 
the  removal  of  corrupt  particles,  principally  suffers. 
The  skin,  its  most  important  organ,  becomes  with 
years  always  closer,  more  impenetrable,  and  less  useful. 
This  is  the  case  also  with  the  kidneys,  the  pores  of  the 
intestines,  and  the  lungs.  The  juices,  therefore,  in  old 
age,  must  be  always  more  impure,  more  acrid,  tougher, 
and  more  impregnated  with  earthy  particles.  Earth, 
the  great  enemy  of  vital  motion,  acquires  in  our  bodies, 
by  these  means,  a  preponderance;  and  thus,  with  a 


122  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

living  body,  we  insensibly  approach  our  final  destina- 
tion :  "  Return  to  the  earth  from  which  thou  wast 
taken ! " 

In  this  manner  does  life  bring  on  a  cessation  of  life, 
that  is,  natural  death ;  and  its  progress  is  as  follows :  — 

The  powers  subject  to  the  will  first  decrease,  and 
then  the  spontaneous  and  proper  vital  movements.  The 
heart  can  no  longer  force  the  blood  to  the  extremities ; 
pulsation  and  heat  leave  the  feet  and  hands  ;  but  the 
blood  is  still  kept  in  motion  from  the  heart  and  larger 
vessels,  and  thus  the  vital  flame,  though  weak,  is  for 
some  time  preserved.  At  length,  the  heart  has  not 
strength  to  press  the  blood  through  the  lungs.  Nature 
now  employs  all  her  power  to  invigorate  respiration, 
and  by  these  means  to  give  some  passage  to  the  blood. 
This  power,  at  last,  is  exhausted ;  the  left  ventricle  of 
the  heart,  consequently,  receives  no  more  blood,  and  is 
no  longer  irritated,  and  continues  at  rest.  The  right 
still  receives  a  little  transmitted  to  it  from  parts  already 
half  dead ;  but  these  parts  soon  become  perfectly  cold ; 
the  juices*  curdle  ;  the  heart  receives  heat  no  more,  all 
its  motion  ceases,  and  death  is  complete. 

Before  I  proceed  further  I  must  examine  some  prob- 
lematical circumstances,  which  present  themselves  in 
the  course  of  every  research  into  the  duration  of  human 
life,  and  which  are  deserving  of  particular  attention. 

The  first  problem  is  :  How  is  it  possible  that  man, 
whose  organization  is  the  most  delicate  and  most  com- 
plex, whose  self-consumption  is  the  most  rapid,  and 
whose  duration  of  life  ought  consequently  to  be  the 
shortest,  should,  however,  exceed  so  evidently,  in  duration 
of  life,  all  classes  of  the  more  perfect  animals,  which 


SUPERIOR    DURATION    OF    HUMAN    LIFE.          123 

have  the  same  size,  the  same  organization)  and  the  same 
place  in  the  scale  of  creation  ? 

It  is  well  known  that  the  more  imperfect  the  organi- 
zation, the  greater  is  the  duration  of  life,  or  at  least  the 
vital  tenacity.  Man,  as  the  most  perfect  of  all 
creatures,  ought  consequently,  in  this  respect,  to  be  far 
inferior  to  others.  Besides,  it  appears  from  the  forego- 
ing research,  that  the  duration  of  life  of  an  animal  will 
be  shorter  the  more  numerous  its  wants  are  for  support- 
ing that  life.  Of  these,  man  without  doubt  has  the 
greatest  number,  and  this  is  a  new  ground  for  a  shorter 
duration.  It  has  been  likewise  shown  already  that, 
among  animals,  the  highest  degree  of  self-consumption 
is  the  process  of  generation,  and  that  it  shortens  in  a 
very  sensible  manner  their  duration  of  life.  In  this 
the  perfection  of  man  is  remarkably  apparent ;  and  ii 
him  there  is  also  a  new  kind  of  generation,  the  spiritual, 
or  the  business  of  thinking;  and  his  duration  must 
thereby  suffer  still  more. 

It  may  be  asked,  then,  by  what  means  has  man  such 
a  superiority  in  regard  to  the  duration  of  life  ? 

In  my  opinion,  the  question  may  be  answered  from 
the  following  grounds  :  — 

I.  The  texture  of  the  whole  cellular  membrane  is 
much  softer  and  tenderer  in  man  than  in  animals  of  the 
same  class.  Even  the  so-called  nervous  coat  of  an 
intestine  is,  in  a  dog,  much  harder,  and  cannot  be 
so  inflated  as  that  of  a  man.  The  veins  also,  the  bones, 
and  the  brain,  are,  in  animals,  much  more  solid,  and 
abound  with  a  greater  quantity  of  earth.  Now,  I  have 
before  shown  that  too  great  a  degree  of  hardness  or 
brittleness  in  the  organs  is  prejudicial  to  duration  of 


124  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

life,  because  the  organs  thereby  lose  sooner  their  plia- 
bility and  fitness  for  use  ;  and  because  that  stiffness  and 
aridity  which  bring  on  old  age,  and  at  length  a  com- 
plete stoppage  of  the  whole  machinery,  are  thus 
hastened ;  man,  consequently,  must  have  old  age  later, 
and  a  more  extensive  period  of  life. 

II.  Man  grows  more  slowly  ;  attains  later  to  matu- 
rity ;  all  his  powers  are  longer  in  expanding ;  and  I 
have  before  shown,  that  the  existence  of  a  creature  is 
lengthened  in  proportion  to  the  time  required  for  its 
expansion. 

III.  Sleep,  the  greatest  means  of  vital  retardation 
and  support,  is  in  man  more  peculiarly  regular  and 
constant. 

IV.  The  perfect  organization  of  the  soul,*  the  fac- 
ulty of  thinking,  —  that  is,  reason,  makes  in  man  a  very 
great  difference. 

This  higher  and  divine  power,  which  exists  in  man 
alone,  has  the  most  visible  influence,  not  only  on  his 
character  in  general,  but  also  on  the  perfection  and 
duration  of  his  life  ;  and  in  the  following  manner :  — 

1st.  It  is  perfectly  natural  that  the  sum  of  the  active 

*  I  hope  my  readers  will  not  here  misunderstand  my  mean- 
ing, and  imagine  that  I  reckon  the  soul  to  be  a  part,  a  produc- 
tion, or  property  of  the  body.  This  is  by  no  means  the  case. 
The  soul,  in  my  opinion,  is  something  distinct  from  the  body ;  a 
being  of  a  totally  different,  more  exalted,  intellectual  world  ;  but 
in  this  sublunary  combination,  and  to  be  a  human  soul,  it  must 
have  organs  to  fit  it  not  only  for  action,  but  also  for  sensation, 
and  even  for  the  higher  functions  of  thinking  and  combining 
ideas.  The  first  cause  of  thought  is,  therefore,  spiritual ;  but  the 
business  of  thinking  itself,  as  carried  on  in  this  mortal  machine,  is 
organic. 


SUPERIOR     DURATION     OF    HUMAN     LIFE.        125 

vital  powers  within  us  should  be  increased  by  the 
assistance  of  this  most  pure  and  divine  power. 

2d.  Man,  by  the  most  refined  and  most  perfect 
organization  of  the  brain,  acquires  an  entirely  new 
organ  of  restoration  peculiar  to  himself;  or  rather,  his 
whole  vital  capacity  is  thereby  increased. 

3d.  By  this  highly  perfect  power  of  the  soul,  man 
enters  into  connection  with  an  entirely  new  world  — 
the  spiritual ;  which  is  concealed  from  the  rest  of  the 
creation.  It  gives  him  points  of  contact  altogether 
new  —  new  influences,  and  a  new  element.  Might  not 
one  in  this  respect  call  man  an  amphibious  being  (par- 
don the  expression)  of  a  higher  kind,  for  he  is  a  being 
who  lives  at  the  same  time  in  two  worlds,  the  material 
and  the  intellectual;  and  apply  to  him  what  I  have 
shown  from  experience,  respecting  amphibious  animals, 
that  existence  in  two  worlds  at  the  same  time  prolongs 
life  ?  What  an  immense  ocean  of  spiritual  nourishment 
and  spiritual  influences  is  opened  to  us  by  this  higher 
and  more  perfect  organization.  An  entirely  new  class 
of  means  to  nourish  and  excite  the  vital  power,  pecu- 
liar to  man  alone,  here  presents  itself.  I  mean  the 
more  refined  mental  and  more  exalted  moral  sensations 
and  affections.  I  shall,  on  this  occasion,  mention  .only 
the  enjoyment  and  comfort  which  lie  in  music  ;  the  art 
of  painting,  and  the  enchantments  of  poetry,  and  the 
imagination  ;  the  pleasure  which  attends  the  investiga- 
tion of  truth  or  a  new  discovery ;  the  rich  source  of 
happiness  that  may  be  found  in  the  idea  of  futurity  ;  in 
the  power  of  anticipating  it,  and  of  living,  through  hope, 
when  the  scenes  now  present  shall  be  no  more.  What 
comfort,  what  unshaken  firmness  may  we  not  acquire 


126  ART     OF    PROLONGING     LIFE. 

from  the  single  idea  and  belief  of  immortality.  In  short, 
the  circle  of  human  life  is  hereby  extended  in  an  aston- 
ishing manner ;  and  man  actually  derives  his  vital  sub- 
sistence from  two  worlds  at  the  same  time,  the  material 
and  the  immaterial,  the  present  and  the  future.  His 
duration  of  life  must,  therefore,  necessarily  be  a  gainer. 

4th.  The  more  perfect  powers  of  the  soul  contribute 
also  so  far  to  the  support  and  prolongation  of  life,  that 
man  thereby  is  made  a  partaker  of  reason,  which  enables 
him  to  regulate  his  conduct  in  all  things  ;  which  mode- 
rates instinct,  a  faculty  merely  animal,  as  well  as  the 
furious  passions,  and  the  rapid  consumption  connected 
with  them  ;  and  which,  by  these  means,  is  able  to  pre- 
serve him  in  that  middle  state  which  we  have  already 
shown  to  be  so  necessary  for  long  life. 

In  short,  man  evidently  has  more  spiritual  part  than 
was  requisite  for  him  in  the  present  world;  and  this 
superabundance  of  spiritual  power  carries  with  it,  as  it 
were,  the  bodily.  It  is  the  bodily  only,  which  is  sub- 
ject to  wasting,  and  to  death. 

I  cannot  here  omit  to  remark,  how  apparently  the 
moral  object,  the  higher  destination  of  man,  is  interwo- 
ven with  his  physical  existence :  and  how  reason  and 
the  t  higher  powers  of  thought,  which  properly  render 
him  a  man,  display  not  only  his  moral,  but  his  physical 
perfection ;  consequently,  a  proper  cultivation  of  his 
spiritual  powers,  particularly  the  moral,  makes  him, 
beyond  all  dispute,  more  perfect,  not  only  morally,  but 
also  physically ;  and,  as  we  shall  have  occasion  to  see 
hereafter,  increases  his  vital  capacity  and  vital  dura- 
tion. The  man  merely  savage  sinks,  in  regard  to 
duration  of  life,  to  the  level  of  the  inferior  animals, 


SPIRITUALITY    OF    HUMAN    LIFE.  127 

with  which  he  is  on  an  equality  as  to  size  and  strength ; 
while,  on  the  other  hand,  the  weakest  man,  by  this 
spiritual  subsistence,  can  often  prolong  his  life  far 
beyond  that  of  the  strongest  animal. 

From  the  same  principles  we  can  resolve  also  the 
second  problem :  How  comes  it  that  among  men,  whose 
duration  of  life  so  far  exceeds  that  of  animals,  and 
who,  as  experience  shows,  can  live  to  an  extraordinary 
age,  so  few  attain  to  their  real  term  of  existence,  and 
that  the  greater  part  of  them  die  before  the  time  ;  or,  in 
other  words,  that  where  the  longest  duration  is  possible, 
there  mortality  is  the  greatest. 

The  great  softness  and  tenderness  of  the  organs, 
which  render  man  more  capable  of  long  duration, 
expose  his  life  also  to  more  dangers,  to  more  interrup- 
tions, to  more  derangements,  and  to  more  injuries. 

Besides,  the  more  points  of  contact  he  has  with  the 
whole  of  surrounding  Nature,  he  is  rendered  the  more 
susceptible  of  a  multitude  of  prejudicial  influences 
which  a  coarser  organization  does  not  feel.  The  grati- 
fication of  his  multiplied  wants  multiplies  his  dangers. 

Even  the  spiritual  life  is  attended  with  its  peculiar 
poisons  and  dangers.  What  knows  an  animal  of  de- 
luded hope,  disappointed  ambition,  slighted  love,  care, 
repentance,  or  despair?  And  how  destructive  and 
pernicious  to  the  life  of  man  are  these  poisons  of  the 
mind! 

Lastly,  one  main  point  is,  that  man,  though  organ- 
ized for  a  reasonable  being,  is,  however,  at  liberty  to  use 
his  reason  or  not;  animals,  instead  of  reason,  have 
instinct ;  and,  at  the  same  time,  are  far  more  insensible 
and  callous  in  regard  to  destructive  impressions. 


128  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

Instinct  teaches  them  to  use  that  which  is  good  for 
them,  and  to  shun  that  which  hurts  them.  It  tells  them, 
when  they  have  enough,  when  they  require  rest,  when 
they  are  indisposed.  Instinct,  without  the  help  of  regi- 
men, secures  them  from  intemperance  and  dissipation. 
Among  men,  on  the  other  hand,  every  thing,  even  what 
concerns  medicine,  is  referred  to  reason.  Man  has 
neither  instinct  to  guard  against  error,  nor  resolution 
enough  to  withstand  it.  All  this  ought  to  be  supplied 
by  reason.  If  that  be  wanting,  or  if  he  neglect  to 
listen  to  its  admonition,  he  loses  his  only  guide,  his 
greatest  means  of  support ;  and  sinks,  physically,  not 
only  to  the  level  of  the  brute,  but  even  below  it, 
because  brutes  are  indemnified  by  Nature  for  the  want 
of  reason  in  regard  to  their  vital  support.  Man,  on 
the  contrary,  without  reason,  is  a  prey  to  every  noxious 
influence,  and  becomes  the  most  perishable  and  corrup- 
tible being  under  the  sun.  The  natural  want  of  reason 
is  far  less  prejudicial  to  the  support  and  duration  of  life 
than  the  interrupted  exercise  of  it,  where  it  has  been 
bestowed  by  Nature.  But,  as  Haller,  with  so  much 
truth,  says, — 

O  wretched  being,  to  thy  interest  blind, 
.In  whom  the  angel  and  the  brute  are  join'd ! 
God  gave  thee  reason  to  direct  thy  choice ; 
Yet  thou  thy  ear  turn'st  from  its  friendly  voice. 

In  this  lies  the  principal  cause  why  among  men,  who  in 
every  respect  are  best  fitted  for  long  life,  mortality  is 
greatest. 

One  need  not  object  that  this  assertion  is  contradicted 
by  many  madmen  who  live  to  a  great  age.     The  first 


MORTALITY    OF    MAN.  129 

thing  to  be  considered  here  is  the  species  of  insanity. 
If  it  be  attended  with  rage  and  fury,  these  certainly 
shorten  life  very  much ;  because  they  are  accompanied, 
in  the  highest  degree,  with  exertion  of  the  powers  and 
vital  consumption.  And  the  case  is  the  same  with  the 
deepest  melancholy  and  distress  of  mind,  as  these  injure 
the  noblest  organs,  and  destroy  the  powers.  But  in  a 
mean  state,  where  reason  is  not  entirely  gone,  where 
the  disorder  displays  itself  by  incoherent  ideas,  and 
false  but  often  very  agreeable  sports  of  the  imagina- 
tion, there  the  physical  use  of  reason  may  continue, 
while  the  moral  is  lost.  Nay,  a  man  in  this  state  is  to 
be  considered  as  one  under  the  influence  of  a  pleasant 
dream,  on  whom  a  multitude  of  wants,  cares,  disagree- 
able and  life-shortening  impressions,  and  even  physical 
causes  of  disease,  as  experience  shows,  produce  no 
effect ;  who  lives  happy  in  his  self-created  world ;  and 
is  far  less  exposed  to  destruction  and  vital  consumption. 
It  is  to  be  observed,  in  the  last  place,  that  when  a  luna- 
tic is  totally  deprived  of  reason,  those  by  whom  he  is 
attended  and  taken  care  of,  think  for  him,  and  as  it  were 
lend  him  their  reason.  He  is  therefore  supported  by 
reason,  whether  it  be  his  own  or  that  of  another. 


9 


CHAPTER    VIII. 

Signs  of  long  life  in  individuals.  Sound  stomach  and  organs  of 
digestion.  Good  teeth.  Well-organized  breast.  Heart  not  too 
irritable.  Strong  natural  power  of  restoration  and  healing.  Suffi- 
cient quantity  and  diffusion  of  the  vital  power.  Good  tempera- 
ment. Faultless  and  well-proportioned  make  of  body.  No  partic- 
ular weakness  of  any  part.  Portrait  of  a  man  destined  to  long 
life. 

AFTER  explaining  these  general  principles,  I  can 
now  proceed  to  lay  down  the  special  and  individual 
grounds  of  long  life,  which  must  exist  in  the  man  him- 
self. I  shall  here,  therefore,  describe  those  grand  pro- 
perties, and  that  frame,  which,  according  to  experience 
and  the  foregoing  observations,  must  be  possessed  by 
every  man  before  he  can  lay  claim  to  a  long  existence. 
This  sketch  may,  in  some  measure,  serve  as  a  register 
of  the  signs  of  longevity. 

The  properties,  which  may  be  called  the  foundations 
of  long  life  in  man,  are  the  following :  — 

I.  Above  all  things,  the  stomach,  and  the  whole  sys- 
tem of  digestion,  must  be  sound  and  well  formed.  It  is 
incredible  of  what  importance  this  most  powerful  of  all 
the  rulers  in  the  animal  kingdom  is,  in  the  above 
respect ;  and  one  may  justly  affirm,  that,  without  a  good 
stomach,  it  is  impossible  to  attain  to  a  great  age.* 

*  In  a  good  stomach  we  have  the  secret  of  Thomas  Parr's 
great  age ;  in  the  report  of  his  examination  after  death,  it  is 


SIGNS    OF   LONG    LIFE.  131 

The  stomach,  in  two  respects,  is  the  foundation  of 
long  life.  First,  as  it  is  the  principal  and  most  impor- 
tant organ  of  the  restoration  of  our  nature ;  the  door 
through  which  every  thing  that  is  to  form  a  part  of  us 
must  enter ;  and  the  first  vessel  on  the  good  or  bad  con- 
dition of  which,  not  only  the  quantity,  but  also  the  qual- 
ity of  the  addition  made  to  our  bodies  must  depend. 
Secondly,  because  by  the  state  of  the  stomach,  the  effect 
even  which  the  passions,  the  causes  of  disease,  and  other 
destructive  influences,  have  over  our  bodies,  is  modified. 
"  He  has  a  good  stomach,"  says  the  proverb,  when  one 
wishes  to  characterize  a  person  to  whom  neither  grief, 
care,  nor  sorrow,  is  prejudicial;  and  certainly  in  that 
expression  there  is  a  great  deal  of  truth.  All  these 
passions  must,  in  a  particular  manner,  affect  the  stomach, 
and  must  be  felt  by  it  before  they  can  pass  into,  or  in- 
jure, our  physical  constitution.  A  strong  robust  stomach 
is  not  susceptible  of  any  impression  from  them :  on  the 
other  hand,  a  weak  sensible  stomach  is  every  moment 
subject  to  some  derangement  in  its  whole  frame ;  and, 
consequently,  the  important  business  of  restoration  is 
continually  interrupted,  and  carried  on  in  an  imperfect 
manner.  The  case  is  the  same  with  most  of  the  physi- 
cal causes  of  disease.  The  greater  part  of  them  make 
their  first  impression  on  the  stomach  :  and,  therefore,  a 
want  of  digestion  is  the  earliest  symptom  of  illness.  It 
is  thus  the  first  vessel  by  which  they  insinuate  them- 

stated  that  "his  viscera  were  sound  and  strong,  especially  his 
stomach ;  and  it  was  observed  of  him  that  he  used  to  eat  often, 
both  by  night  and  by  day,  taking  up  with  old  cheese,  milk,  coarse 
bread,  small  beer,  and  whey ;  and  what  is  most  remarkable,  he 
ate  at  midnight,  a  little  before  he  died." — EDITOR. 


132  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

selves  into  our  bodies,  and  disturb  the  whole  economy. 
Besides,  it  is  a  principal  organ,  on  which  the  equilib- 
rium of  the  nervous  motions,  and  in  particular  their 
tendency  to  the  periphery,  depends.  If  it  be  power- 
ful and  active,  morbid  irritations  cannot  so  easily  fix 
themselves :  they  are  removed  and  driven  off'  through 
the  skin,  before  they  effect  a  real  derangement  of  the 
whole  system  ;  that  is  to  say,  before  they  bring  on 
disease. 

A  good  stomach  may  be  known  two  ways  ;  not  merely 
by  an  excellent  appetite,  for  that  may  be  the  conse- 
quence of  any  stimulus ;  but,  in  particular,  by  an  easy 
and  perfect  digestion.  Whoever  feels  that  he  has  a 
stomach,  cannot  have  a  good  one.  One  must  not  be  sen- 
sible that  one  has  eaten  ;  must  not  be  drowsy,  dejected, 
or  uneasy  after  meals ;  must  have  no  phlegm  in  the 
throat  in  the  morning ;  and  the  evacuations  must  be 
regular  and  well  concocted. 

We  are  taught,  by  experience,  that  all  those  who  at- 
tained to  a  very  great  age  had  a  good  appetite,  which 
they  retained  to  the  last. 

For  good  digestion,  good  teeth  are  extremely  neces- 
sary ;  and  one,  therefore,  may  consider  them  among  the 
essential  properties  requisite  for  long  life,  and  in  two 
points  of  view.  First,  good  and  strong  teeth  are  al- 
ways a  sign  of  a  sound,  strong  constitution,  and  good 
juices.  Those  who  lose  their  teeth  early,  have,  in  a 
certain  measure,  taken  possession  of  the  other  world 
with  a  part  of  their  bodies.  Secondly,  the  teeth  are 
a  great  help  to  digestion,  and  consequently  to  resto- 
ration. 

II.  A  well-organized  breast  and  organs  of  respira- 


HEART.      PULSE.      TEMPERAMENT.  133 

tion.  These  may  be  known  by  a  broad,  full  chest ;  the 
power  of  keeping  in  one's  breath  for  a  long  time ;  ;i 
strong  voice,  and  by  being  seldom  subject  to  a  cough. 
Breathing  is  one  of  the  most  incessant  and  necessary 
of  the  vital  operations,  the  means  of  the  most  indis- 
pensable, spiritual  restoration  ;  and,  at  the  same  time, 
the  cause  by  which  the  blood  is  continually  freed  from 
a  multitude  of  corrupted  particles.  Those  in  whom 
these  organs  are  well  formed,  possess  the  greatest 
assurance  of  longevity ;  arid  for  this  reason,  because 
an  important  passage,  by  which  death  and  the  causes 
of  destruction  might  insinuate  themselves,  is  fully  se- 
cured. The  breast  is  among  the  principal  atria 
mortis,*  one  of  those  parts  of  which  death  first  lays 
hold. 

I  If.  A  heart  not  too  irritable.  We  have  alrea<! 
that  a  principal  cause  of  our  internal  consumption,  or 
spontaneous  wasting,  lies  in  the  continual  circulation  of 
the  blood.  He  who  has  a  hundred  pulsations  in  a 
minute,  must  be  wasted  far  more  speedily  than  he  who 
has  only  fifty.  Those,  therefore,  whose  pulse  is  always 
quick,  and  in  whom  every  trifling  agitation  of  the  mind, 
Or  every  additional  drop  of  wine?,  increases  the  motion 
of  the  heart,  are  unfortunate  candidates  for  longevity, 
since  their  whole  life  is  a  continual  fever;  and  the  pro- 
longation of  it  is  thereby  counteracted  in  a  double 
manner,  partly  by  the  speedier  waiting  connected  with 
it,  and  partly  because  restoration  is  impeded  by  nothing 
go  much  as  by  an  inee.s.-.'intly  accelerated  circulation. 
A  certain  decree  of  rest  is  absolutely  necessary,  that 
the  nourishing  particles  may  settle,  and  be  converted 
*  Entrance  halls  of  death.  —  EDITOR. 


134  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

into  the  substance  of  our  bodies.      Such  people,  also, 
will  never  become  corpulent. 

A  slow,  uniform  pulse  is,  therefore,  a  strong  sign  of 
Jong  life,  arid  a  great  means  to  promote  it. 

IV.  A  sufficient  quantity  and  diffusion  of  the  vital 
power.      A  good  temperament.       Calmness,  order,  and 
harmony  in  all  the  internal  operations  and  movements, 
are  of  the  utmost  importance  for  supporting  and  pro- 
longing life  ;  but  these,  in  a  particular  manner,  depend 
on  a  proper  state  of  the  general  irritability  and  sensi- 
bility of  the  body ;   and  the  latter  qualities  must  be 
neither  too  strong  nor  too  weak,  and  be  uniformly  dif- 
fused, so  that  no  part  may  have  too  great  or  too  small 
a  proportion.     A  certain  degree  of  insensibility,  a  small 
mixture  of  phlegm,  are  also  ingredients  highly  neces- 
sary for  prolonging  the  duration  of  life  ;  as  they  lessen, 
at  the  same  time,  self-consumption,  favor  a  far  more 
perfect  restoration,  and  contribute  most  effectually  to 
preserve  our  existence.      A  good  temperament,  there- 
fore, may  so  far  be  the  foundation  of  a  long  life.     The 
best    is    the    sanguine,    tempered  with    a    little  of  the 
phlegmatic.      This   produces  a  serene,  cheerful  mind, 
moderate   passions,  undaunted  courage,  and,  in   short, 
that  state  of  soul   which  is  most  fitted  for  longevity. 
The  cause  of  this  disposition  is  generally  an  abundance 
of  the  vital  power.     And  as  Kant  has  already  proved 
that  such  a  mixture  of  temperament  is   the  properest 
for  attaining  to  moral  perfection,  I  am  of  opinion  that 
one  may  reckon  it  among  the  best  gifts  of  heaven. 

V.  A  strong  natural  power  of  restoration  and  healing 
by  which  all  those  losses  which  we  daily  sustain  are  not 
only   repaired,  but  repaired  well.      This  depends,  ac- 


FAULTLESS     CONFORMATION.  135 

cording  to  the  above  principles,  on  a  good  digestion, 
and  a  calm,  uniform  circulation  of  the  blood.  To  these 
may  be  also  added  a  perfect  and  vigorous  activity  of 
the  absorbing  vessels  (the  lymphatic  system),  and  the 
good  condition  and  regular  operation  of  the  organs  of 
secretion.  The  effect  of  the  former  is,  that  the  nour- 
ishing substances  pass  easily  into  our  bodies,  and  are 
enabled  to  reach  the  places  of  their  destination  ;  by  the 
latter,  they  are  completely  freed  from  all  extraneous 
and  pernicious  mixture,  and  enter  us  perfectly  pure. 
And  this  properly  gives  an  idea  of  the  most  complete 
restoration. 

It  is  incredible  how  much  this  quality  contributes 
to  the  support  of  life.  In  a  man  who  possesses  it, 
consumption  may  be  exceedingly  strong  without  his 
sustaining  much  loss,  as  it  is  again  repaired  with  the 
utmost  speed.  We  have,  therefore,  instances  of  men 
who,  even  amidst  a  life  of  debauchery  and  fatigue,  be- 
came very  old  :  and  thus,  for  example,  could  a  Duke  de 
Richelieu  and  a  Louis  XV.  attain  to  a  great  age. 

A-  strong  natural  power  of  healing  must  also  be  united 
with  that  of  restoration  ;  or,  in  oilier  words,  that  fac- 
ulty of  Nature  by  which  it  assists  itself  easily  in  cases 
of  derangement  and  interruption,  keeps  back  and  re- 
moves the  causes  of  disease,  and  favors  the  healing  of 
wounds.  There  is  an  astonishing  power  of  this  kind 
in  our  bodies,  as  is  shown  by  the  example  of  savages, 
•who  are  scarcely  subject  to  any  diseases,  and  among 
whom  the  most  dreadful  wounds  heal  up  entirely  of 
themselves. 

VI.  An  uniform  and  faultless  conformation  of  the 
ivhole  body.  Without  uniformity  of  structure  there  can 


136  ART   OF  PROLONGING   LIFE. 

be  no  uniformity  of  powers  and  motion,  and  without 
these  it  is  impossible  to  become  old.  Besides,  an  im- 
perfect structure  gives  an  easy  opportunity  for  the  rise 
of  local  diseases  which  may  bring  on  death.  One  will 
not,  therefore,  find  that  an  overgrown  person  ever  at- 
tained to  a  very  great  age. 

VII.  No  part,  no  intestine  must  have  a  great  degree 
of  weakness,  otherwise  such  a  part  may  serve  to  give  a 
ready  admission  to  the   causes  of  disease,  to  the  first 
seeds  of  some  disorder  or  derangement,  and  become,  as 
it  were,- the  atrium  mortis.     Even  where  the  organiza- 
tion is  very  good  and  perfect,  this  may  be  a  secret 
enemy,  from  which  destruction  may  be  afterwards  con- 
veyed to  the  whole  body. 

VIII.  The  texture  of  the  organization  must  be  of  a 
mean  quality ;  strong  and  durable,  but  not  too  dry  or 
rigid.      We  have  already  seen,  that,  through  all   the 
classes  of  organized  beings,  too  great  aridity  or  hard- 
ness is  prejudicial  to  the  duration  of  life.     Among  men 
it  must  be  so  in  the  highest  degree  ;    because  their 
organization,  according  to  their  destination,  is  the  ten- 
derest  of  all,  and,  by  a  superfluity  of  earthy  particles, 
may  be  soonest  rendered  useless.     These  are  injurious 
two  ways,  partly  by  bringing  on  much  sooner  old  age, 
the   grand  enemy  of  life ;  and  partly  by  making  the 
finest  organs  of  restoration  much  sooner  unfit  for  dis- 
charging their  functions.     Hardness  of  organization,  in 
order  to  favor  long  life,  must  not  consist  so  much  in 
mechanical  toughness  as  in  hardness  of  sensation  ;  and 
must  not  be  the  property  so  much  of  a  coarser  texture 
as  of  the  powers.     The  quantity  of  earth  must  be  ex- 
actly so  great  as  to  give  sufficient  elasticity  and  tone ; 


FAULTLESS  CONFORMATION.         137 

but  neither  so  large  as  to  prove  inflexibility,  nor  so 
small  as  to  occasion  too  much  facility  of  movement ;  for 
both  these  are  hurtful  to  duration  of  life. 

Let  me  now  be  permitted  to  delineate  the  portrait  of 
a  man  destined  to  long  life.  He  has  a  proper  and  well- 
proportioned  stature,  without,  however,  being  too  tall. 
He  is  rather  of  the  middle  size,  and  somewhat  thick-set. 
His  complexion  is  not  too  florid  :  at  any  rate,  too  much 
ruddiness  in  youth  is  seldom  a  sign  of  longevity.  His 
hair  approaches  rather  to  the  fair  than  the  black ;  his 
skin  is  strong,  but  not  rough.  His  head  is  not  too  big ; 
he  has  large  veins  at  the  extremities,  and  his  shoulders 
are  rather  round  than  flat.  His  neck  is  not  too  long  ; 
his  abdomen  does  not  project ;  and  his  hands  are  large, 
but  not  too  deeply  cleft.  His  foot  is  rather  thick  than 
long ;  and  his  legs  are  firm  and  round.  He  has  also  a 
broad  arched  chest ;  a  strong  voice,  and  the  faculty  of 
retaining  his  breath  for  a  long  time  without  difficulty. 
In  general,  there  is  a  complete  harmony  in  all  his  parts. 
His  senses  are  good,  but  not  too  delicate;  his  pulse  is 
slow  and  regular. 

His  stomach  is  excellent,  his  appetite  good,  and  his 
digestion  easy.  The  joys  of  the  table  are  to  him  of 
importance  ;  they  tune  his  mind  to  serenity,  and  his 
soul  partakes  in  the  pleasure  which  they  communicate. 
He  does  not  eat  merely  for  the  sake  of  eating  ;  but  each 
meal  is  an  hour  of  daily  festivity ;  a  kind  of  delight 
attended  with  this  advantage,  in  regard  to  others,  that 
it  does  not  make  him  poorer,  but  richer.  He  eats 
slowly,  and  has  not  too  much  thirst.  Too  great  thirst 
is  always  a  sign  of  rapid  self-consumption. 

In  general,  he  is  serene,  loquacious,  active,  suscepti- 


138  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

ble  of  joy,  love,  and  hope  ;  but  insensible  to  the  impres- 
sions of  hatred,  anger,  and  avarice.  His  passions  never 
become  too  violent  or  destructive.  If  he  ever  gives 
way  to  anger,  he  experiences  rather  an  useful  glow  of 
warmth,  an  artificial  and  gentle  fever,  without  an  over- 
flowing of  the  bile.  He  is  fond  also  of  employment, 
particularly  calm  meditation  and  agreeable  speculations ; 
is  an  optimist,  a  friend  to  nature  and  domestic  felicity, 
has  no  thirst  after  honors  or  riches,  and  banishes  all 
thoughts  of  to-morrow. 


CHAPTER     IX. 

Examinations  of  various  new  methods  for  prolonging  life.  By  vital 
elixirs.  Gold  tinctures  and  wonder-working  essences.  By  harden- 
ing the  organs.  By  rest  and  suspending  for  a  time  vital  activity. 
By  guarding  against  consumption,  and  the  external  causes  of 
disease.  By  fast  living.  Account  of  the  only  methods  possible 
by  which  life  can  be  prolonged.  Proper  union  of  the  four  princi- 
pal indications.  Increasing  the  vital  power.  Strengthening  the 
organs.  Moderating  vital  consumption.  Favouring  restoration. 
Modification  of  these  methods,  according  to  difference  of  constitu- 
tion, temperament,  age,  and  climate. 

VARIOUS  are  the  methods  and  plans  which  have  been 
proposed  for  the  prolongation  of  life.  The  old  super- 
stitious, astrological,  and  fantastic  methods  we  have 
already  examined  and  appreciated ;  but  there  are 
others,  more  modern,  which  appear  to  be  founded  on 
juster  principles  of  life  and  viial  duration,  and  which 
still  deserve  some  inquiry  before  we  proceed  to  estab- 
lish that  which  alone  is  possible. 

I  think  I  have  sufficiently  proved,  that  the  prolonga- 
tion of  life  is  possible,  four  different  ways  : 
1st.  By  increasing  the  vital  power  itself. 
2nd.  By  hardening  the  organs. 
3rd.  By  retarding  vital  consumption. 
4th.  By  facilitating  and  assisting  restoration. 
On  each  of  these  ideas  have  been  founded  plans  and 
methods,  which  in  part  are  very  plausible,  and  which 


140  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

have  been  much  commended  ;  but  they  are  all  deficient, 
chiefly  in  this,  that  they  regard  only  one  object,  and 
neglect  the  rest. 

Let  us,  therefore,  examine  and  appreciate  some  of  the 
principal. 

On  the  first  idea,  that  of  increasing  the  quantity  of 
the  vital  power,  has  been,  in  particular,  founded,  the 
method  of  those  who  prepare  and  who  use  gold  tinctures, 
astralish  salts,  the  philosopher's  stone,  and  elixirs  of 
life.  Electricity  even,  and  animal  magnetism,  belong 
in  part  to  this  class.  All  the  Adepts,  Rosicrucians,  and 
Consorts,  and  a  multitude  of  people  sensible  in  other 
respects,  are  fully  convinced  that  their  first  matter  can 
not  only  convert  the  rest  of  the  metals  into  gold,  but 
continually  supply  the  lamp  of  life  with  new  oil.  A 
man,  therefore,  needs  only  take  daily  a  small  quantity 
of  such  tinctures  to  recruit  the  vital  power ;  and  thus, 
according  to  their  theory,  we  can  never  be  exposed 
to  a  want  or  a  total  loss  of  it.  On  this  is  founded  the 
history  of  the  celebrated  Gualdus,  who  by  these  helps 
lived  300  years,  and,  as  some  firmly  believe,  is  alive 
still. 

Those,  however,  who  place  confidence  in  these  helps 
are  miserably  deceived.  The  use  of  such  medicines, 
which  are  all  hot  and  stimulating,  increases  naturally 
vital  sensation;  and  such  people  consider  increase  of 
vital  sensation  as  a  real  increase  of  the  vital  power, 
without  reflecting  that  a  continual  increase  of  the  former 
is,  by  irritation,  the  surest  means  of  shortening  life,  and 
in  the  following  manner  :  — 

1st.  These,  in  part,  spirituous  medicines  act  as  strong 
stimulants,  increase  the  internal  motion  and  intensive 


GOLD     TINCTURES.       VITAL     ELIXIRS.  141 

life,  consequently  the  self-consumption,  and  occasion  a 
more  rapid  wasting  of  the  organs.  Such  is  the  case  not 
only  with  the  coarser,  but  also  with  the  more  refined 
substances  of  this  kind.  Even  electricity,  magnetism, 
and  the  inspiring  dephlogisticated  air  (oxygen  gas), 
which  one  certainly  might  believe  to  be  the  gentlest 
method  of  instilling  vital  power,  increase  self-consump- 
tion in  a  high  degree.  This  may  be  very  clearly  per- 
ceived in  asthmatics,  who  are  made  to  inspire  such  air. 
Their  vital  sensation  is  thereby  much  exalted,  but  they 
die  sooner. 

2d.  These  stimulating  medicines,  as  they  exalt  vital 
sensation  and  also  sensibility,  expose  one  more  to  exer- 
tion of  the  powers  ;  to  enjoyment,  and  to  sensual  gratifi- 
cations, which  some,  however,  particularly  recommend  ; 
and  by  these  means  increase  self-consumption. 

3rd.  They  contract  and  desiccate,  consequently  make 
the  finer  organs  much  sooner  unfit  for  use,  and  bring 
on  premature  old  age,  which  they  ought  rather  to 
keep  off. 

And  even  supposing  that  our  vital  sensations  required 
to  be  so  much  exalted,  neither  alembics  nor  crucibles 
are  necessary  for  that  purpose.  Nature  herself  has 
provided  for  us  that  most  excellent  spirit,  wine,  which 
excels  all  those  prepared  by  the  art  of  man.  If  there 
be  anything  in  the  world  which  one  may  call  the  prima 
materia,  that  contains  the  spirit  of  the  earth  in  an  incor- 
porated form,  it  is  certainly  this  noble  production ;  and 
yet  we  find  that  too  liberal  a  use  of  it  occasions  a 
speedier  consumption,  brings  on  old  age,  and  evidently 
shortens  the  duration  of  life. 

But  it  is,  indeed,  foolish  to  endeavor  to  accumulate 


142  ART  OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

the  vital  power  in  a  concentrated  form  within  the  body, 
and  then  to  imagine  that  one  has  accomplished  some- 
thing great.  Are  opportunities  of  doing  this,  want- 
ing ?  It  abounds  in  every  thing  near  and  around  us. 
All  the  nourishment  we  take,  each  mouthful  of  air 
that  we  breathe,  is  filled  with  it.  The  principal  point 
is  to  preserve  our  organs  in  a  state  capable  of  absorb- 
ing, receiving,  and  appropriating  it.  Let  a  lifeless 
body  be  filled  ever  so  much  with  vital  drops,  it  will 
not  begin  to  revive,  because  it  has  no  longer  organs 
to  appropriate  them.  It  is  not  the  want  of  vital  ac- 
cession, but  of  vital  capacity,  which  in  the  end  makes 
men  unfit  to  live  longer.  But  here  Nature  herself  is 
our  guardian  ;  and,  in  this  respect,  all  vital  drops  are 
unnecessary. 

On  the  second  idea,  strengthening  the  organs,  a  very 
favorite  system,  that  of  hardening, \\&s  also  been  founded. 
It  is  therefore  believed  that  the  more  the  organs  are 
hardened,  the  longer  they  must  naturally  withstand 
consumption  and  destruction. 

But  we  have  already  seen  what  a  great  difference 
there  is  between  the  mechanism  of  a  thing  and  its  vital 
duration  ;  and  that  a  certain  degree  only  of  solidity  is 
favorable  to  the  latter,  and  that  too  much  is  highly 
prejudicial.  The  essential  character  of  life  consists  in 
the  Uninterrupted  and  free  activity  of  all  the  organs, 
and  of  the  circulation  of  the  juices  ;  and  what  can  be 
more  destructive  to  these,  and  consequently  to  the  dura- 
tion of  life,  than  too  great  hardness  and  rigidity  ?  Fish 
certainly  have  the  softest  and  most  watery  flesh ;  yet 
they  far  exceed,  in  vital  duration,  stronger  and  more 
solid  animals. 


HARDENING    THE    ORGANS.  143 

The  favorite  method  of  hardening,  which  consists  in 
endeavoring,  by  the  continued  use  of  the  cold  bath ;  keep- 
ing the  body  exposed,  almost  naked,  to  the  keenest  air, 
and  the  most  fatiguing  exercise,  to  make  one's  self  strong 
and  indestructible,  produces  no  other  effect  than  that  our 
organs  become  drier,  tougher,  and  more  rigid,  conse- 
quently much  sooner  unfit  for  use;  and  therefore, instead 
of  prolonging  life,  we  bring  on  premature  old  age  and 
speedier  dissolution. 

There  is,  however,  some  truth,  upon  the  whole,  in  this 
method ;  and  it  has  proved  unsuccessful,  because  people 
united  with  it  false  ideas,  and  carried  it  too  far.  It  is 
not  so  much  a  hardening  of  the  vessels  as  of  the  feel- 
ing, that  can  contribute  to  the  prolongation  of  life. 
When  one,  therefore,  employs  the  hardening  method 
so  far  as  to  make  the  vessels  strong,  but  not  hard  or 
stiff,  so  that  their  too  great  irritability,  a  principal 
cause  of  speedy  wasting,  is  blunted  or  removed,  and 
the  body  rendered  thereby,  at  the  same  time,  less  sus- 
ceptible of  destructive  influences,  it  may  certainly,  in 
that  case,  be  of  some  service  in  lengthening  our  exis- 
tence. 

The  third  idea,  that  of  retarding  vital  consumption,  is 
highly  captivating ;  and  has  been  adopted,  in  particular, 
with  great  satisfaction,  but  very  improperly  employed,, 
by  those  who  are  naturally  much  inclined  to  indolence 
and  ease.  To  waste  the  body  by  labor  and  exertion  is, 
to  such  people,  unpleasant  in  itself;  they  are  rejoiced, 
therefore,  to  find  it  not  only  disagreeable,  but  also  pre- 
judicial, and  to  have,  in  indolence,  a  grand  secret  for 
prolonging  life,  superior  to  all  the  arcana  of  Cagliostro 
and  St.  Germain. 


141  ,   ART    OF  PROLONGING  LIFE. 

Some  have  even  gone  still  further,  and  in  particular 
Maupertuis,  who  conceived  it  might  be  possible,  by  a 
complete  suspension  of  vital  activity,  or  an  artificial 
apparent  death,  to  check  self-consumption  entirely,  and 
by  such  pauses,  to  preserve  life  for  perhaps  several 
centuries.  He  supported  his  proposition  on  the  life  of 
a  chicken  in  the  egg,  and  of  insects  in  their  state  of 
nymph  and  chrysalis,  which,  by  the  help  of  cold  and 
other  means,  whereby  the  animal  is  kept  longer  in  its 
deathlike  sleep,  can  actually  be  prolonged.  According 
then  to  these  principles,  nothing  is  necessary  but  to  ac- 
quire the  art  of  half-killing  one.  The  same  idea 
occurred  even  to  the  great  Franklin.  While  in  France, 
he  received  from  America  a  quantity  of  Madeira  wine, 
which  had  been  bottled  in  Virginia.  In  some  of  the 
bottles  he  found  a  few  dead  flies,  which  he  exposed  to 
the  warm  sun,  in  the  month  of  July ;  and  in  less  than 
three  hours  these  apparently  dead  animals  recovered 
life,  which  had  been  so  long  suspended.  At  first  they 
appeared  as  if  convulsed ;  they  then  raised  themselves 
on  their  legs,  washed  their  eyes  with  their  fore  feet, 
dressed  their  wings  with  those  behind,  and  began  in  a 
little  time  to  fly  about.  This  acute  philosopher  pro- 
posed, therefore,  the  following  question  :  —  "  Since,  by 
such  a  complete  suspension  of  all  internal  as  well  as 
external  consumption,  it  is  possible  to  produce  a  pause 
of  life,  and  at  the  same  time  to  preserve  the  vital  prin- 
ciple, might  not  such  a  process  be  employed  in  regard 
to  man  ?  And  if  that  be  the  case,"  adds  he,  like  a  true 
patriot,  "I  can  imagine  no  greater  pleasure  than  to 
cause  myself  to  be  immersed,  along  with  a  few  good 
iriends,  in  Madeira  wine,  and  to  be  again  called  to  life 


PERIODICAL    SUSPENSION    OF   LIFE.  145 

at  the  end  of  fifty  or  more  years,  by  the  genial  solar 
rays  of  my  native  country,  only  that  I  may  see  what 
improvement  the  State  has  made,  and  what  changes 
time  has  brought  along  with  it." 

This  proposal,  however,  vanishes  again  into  nothing 
when  we  consider  the  real  essence  and  object  of  human 
life.  What  is  meant  by  the  life  of  man  ?  Not,  indeed, 
mere  eating  drinking,  and  sleeping,  else  it  would  agree 
perfectly  with  the  life  of  a  swine,  to  which  Cicero  could 
give  no  other  name  than  a  preventive  of  corruption. 
The  life  of  man  has  a  higher  destination  —  action, 
business,  and  enjoyment.  It  is  not  enough  that  it  be 
present,  it  must  expand,  and  bring  to  perfection  those 
divine  seeds  which  exist  within  him ;  it  must  give  hap- 
piness to  himself  and  to  others.  Man  must  not  merely 
fill  up  a  gap  in  the  creation,  he  must  be  the  lord,  the 
ruler,  and  the  benefactor  of  it.  Can  one  say  of  a  man. 
that  he  lives,  when  he  spins  out  life  amidst  sleep,  indo- 
lence, or  apparent  death  ?  But  what  is  still  more,  we 
find  here  also  a  new  proof  in  how  inseparable  a  manner 
the  moral  object  is  interwoven  with  his  physical  appoint- 
rnent  arid  destination,  and  how  promoting  the  one  con- 
duces to  improve  the  other.  Such  an  unmanly  life,  as 
it  may  be  properly  called,  would  contribute  directly  not 
to  prolong,  but  to  shorten  human  existence,  and  in  two 
ways :  — 

1st.  Human  life  is  composed  of  so  tender  and  delicate 
organs  that  they  very  readily  become  unfit  for  use  by 
rest  and  inactivity.  It  is  only  action  and  exercise 
which  make  them  useful  and  durable.  Rest  and  want 
of  exercise  are  their  most  deadly  poison. 

2nd.  We  have  already  seen  that  not  merely  lessening 
10 


146  ART    OF   PROLONGING   LIFE. 

consumption,  but  promoting  restoration  also,  in  a  suf- 
ficient degree,  is  necessary  for  the  prolongation  of  life. 
But  two  operations  are  here  requisite :  first,  perfect 
assimilation  of  what  is  useful;  and,  secondly,  excre- 
tion of  what  is  hurtful.  The  latter  can  never  take 
place  without  proper  activity  and  motion.  What  would 
be  the  consequence  of  a  prolongation  of  life  by  means 
of  rest  and  indolence  ?  The  body  would  be  consumed 
very  little  or  not  at  all,  and  yet  restoration  would  be 
carried  on.  A  most  destructive  plethora  must  thence 
arise,  because  the  body  always  receives  and  never 
throws  off.  And,  what  is  still  worse,  universal  corrup- 
tion, with  its  train  of  evils,  acrid  humors,  disease,  etc., 
•must  gain  the  upper  hand,  as  the  secretion  of  what  is 
prejudicial  has  been  stopped.  It  is  very  natural,  there- 
fore, to  suppose  that  such  a  body  would  be  much  sooner 
destroyed,  as  experience  teaches  us. 

3d.  With  regard  to  the  prolongation  of  life  by  a  sus- 
pension of  the  vital  activity,  during  a  temporal  state  of 
apparent  death,  I  shall,  in  the  last  place,  observe,  that 
this  idea  has  been  founded  on  the  example  of  insects, 
tortoises,  and  other  animals,  which,  as  we  have  before 
seen,  can,  by  such  a  deathlike  sleep,  be  preserved  a 
hundred  years  and  more,  and,  consequently,  far  beyond 
the  natural  term  of  their  existence. 

But,  in  making  such  proposals,  people  do  not  reflect 
that  all  those  experiments  were  tried  upon  very  imper- 
fect animals,  among  which  the  transition  from  their 
natural  half-animated  state  to  actual  torpor  is  much  less 
abrupt  than  it  would  be  among  men,  who  possess  the 
highest  degree  of  vital  perfection.  And  one,  in  particu- 
lar, must  here  observe  the  important  difference  made 


PERIODICAL    SUSPENSION    OP    LIFE.  147 

by  the  business  of  respiration.  All  these  animals  have 
naturally  less  need  of  breathing ;  and  warmth  is  less 
necessary  to  them  in  order  to  retain  life.  Man,  on  the 
other  hand,  requires,  for  the  preservation  of  his  life,  a 
continual  accession  of  heat  and  spiritual  powers ;  in 
short,  of  the  pabulum  vitce*  which  exists  in  the  atmos- 
phere. Such  a  total  suspension  of  breathing  would,  by 
an  entire  loss  of  internal  heat,  soon  become  mortal. 
The  more  perfect  agency  of  the  soul  is  so  interwoven 
with  the  organization  of  man,  that  its  influence  could 
not  be  stopped  so  long  without  causing  the  death  and 
destruction  of  the  more  delicate  organs  which  belong 
to  it. 

Others  have  attempted  to  prolong  life  by  endeavoring 
to  avoid  or  remove  the  causes  of  disease,  such  as  heat 
and  cold,  certain  kinds  of  food  and  drink,  etc.  But  this 
method  is  attended  with  one  disadvantage,  which  is, 
that  we  are  not  able  to  guard  against  all  these  evils ; 
and  that  we  are,  therefore,  rendered  much  more  sensi- 
ble of  those  which  affect  us.  The  preventing  of  con- 
sumption externally  may  also  be  here  included.  In 
warm  countries,  where  the  heat  of  the  atmosphere 
keeps  the  skin  always  open,  and  makes  the  evaporation 
of  the  component  parts  of  our  bodies  far  more  constant, 
people  find  some  benefit  from  rubbing  the  skin  continu- 
ally with  ointments  and  oil,  which  stop  up  the  pores, 
and  prevent  the  more  watery  and  volatile  particles 
from  flying  off  in  perspiration.  By  this  process  one 
experiences  a  real  sensation  of  strengthening ;  and,  in 
such  climates,  it  appears  to  be  necessary  to  check  too 

*  Food  of  life.  — EDITOR. 


148  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

speedy  consumption  by  profuse  evaporation.  But  it  is 
certain  that  it  is  in  warm  climates  only  that  it  can  be 
employed.  In  our  climate,  where  the  atmosphere  it- 
self acts  as  a  medium  to  shut  up  the  pores  of  the  skin, 
we  have  more  need  of  promoting  perspiration  than  of 
preventing  it. 

I  must  now  say  a  few  words  respecting  an  entirely 
new  experiment  for  prolonging  vital  existence,  which 
consists  merely  in  increasing  intensive  life.  On  this 
principle  the  duration  of  life  is  determined,  not  by  num- 
ber of  days,  but  by  the  sum  of  its  use  or  enjoyment ; 
and  it  is  believed  that  if  one,  within  a  certain  period, 
has  had  twice  as  much  action  and  enjoyment  as  another, 
he  has  lived  as  much  as  the  other  in  double  the  time. 
However  much  I  respect  this  method  in  itself,  if  it  con- 
sist in  laudable  exertion,  and  be  the  consequence  of  a 
mind  fertile  in  action  ;  and  though  I  am  fully  convinced 
that,  considering  the  uncertainty  of  our  life,  it  presents 
an  idea  highly  captivating  ;  I  must  confess,  that  it  will 
never  obtain  its  object,  and  that  the  principle  of  it 
appears  to  be  altogether  false.  As  this  opinion  has 
found  so  many  advocates,  I  hope  I  shall  be  permitted 
to  analyze  it  a  little  more  accurately,  and  to  explain 
the  grounds  of  my  assertion. 

All  the  operations  of  nature  require  not  only  energy 
or  intensive  life,  but  also  extension  or  time.  Let  fruit 
receive  twice  as  much  heat  and  nourishment  as  it  has 
in  its  natural  state,  and  in  half  the  time  it  will  attain  to 
apparent  ripeness  ;  but  certainly  not  to  that  degree  of 
perfection  which  the  same  fruit  acquires  in  its  natural 
state,  with  half  the  intensive  activity,  in  double  the  time. 

The  case  is  the  same  with  the  life  of  man.    We  must 


INCREASED    INTENSIVE    LIFE.  149 

consider  it  as  a  whole  compounded  of  various  effects  ; 
as  a  grand  ripening  process,  the  object  of  which  is  to 
give  the  utmost  expansion  and  perfection  possible  to 
human  nature,  and  to  make  it  fill  up  that  point  which 
it  holds  in  the  creation.  Now  ripening  and  maturity 
are  the  produce  only  of  time  and  experience ;  and  it  is, 
therefore,  impossible  that  a  man  who  has  lived  thirty 
years,  though  in  that  time  his  action  and  labour  may 
have  been  doubled,  should  have  attained  to  the  same 
perfection  and  maturity  that  are  acquired  in  a  period 
of  sixty  years.  Besides,  he  was  perhaps  destined  to 
be  useful  in  the  course  of  his  life  to  two  or  three  gen- 
erations ;  but  his  prematurity  hurries  him  off  before 
he  has  seen  the  end  of  the  first.  He  accomplishes, 
then,  neither  in  regard  to  himself  nor  to  others,  Jie 
object  and  destination  of  complete  life  ;  interrupts  the 
course  of  his  days  ;  and  remains  a  more  refined  suicide. 

In  a  still  worse  point  of  view  appear  those  who  en- 
deavour to  prolong  life  by  concentrating  its  enjoyments. 
By  these  means  they  may  be  wasted  much  sooner  ;  and 
what  is  worst  of  all,  they  are  often  punished  for  their 
folly,  because  they  must  lead  a  life  merely  intensive 
without  any  extension  ;  that  is,  they  must  become  a 
burden  to  themselves  and  to  others,  or  rather  they  exist 
longer  than  they  live. 

The  true  art  of  prolonging  human  life  consists  in 
uniting  properly,  and  employing,  the  before-mentioned 
four  principles,  or  indications,  as  they  are  termed  by 
physicians  ;  but  in  such  a  manner  that  none  of  them  be 
sacrificed  to  the  rest,  and  that  one  never  forget  that  the 
question  is  concerning  the  life  of  man,  which,  to  deserve 
that  name,  must  consist  not  merely  in  existing,  but  in 


150  ART     OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

business  and  enjoyment,  and  in  fulfilling  the  end  of  his 
destination.  I  shall  here  take  a  short  view  of  the  whole 
method. 

I.  The  sum  or  fund  of  the  vital  power  must  he  suffi- 
ciently supplied  and  nourished  ;  yet  never  to  such  a 
degree  as  to  occasion  too  violent  exertion  of  it,  but 
only  so  far  as  may  be  necessary  for  it  to  perform  the 
external  and  internal  functions  with  proper  ease,  strength, 
and  duration,  and  to  give  the  component  parts  and 
juices  that  organic  character  which  is  requisite  for 
their  destination,  and  for  guarding  against  chemical  cor- 
ruption. This  may  be  done  with  the  greatest  cer- 
tainty, — 

1st.  By  sound  and  powerful  generation. 

2d.  By  pure  and  wholesome  vital  nourishment  or 
accession  from  without ;  also  pure  atmospheric  air ; 
and  good,  fresh,  well-digested  food  and  drink. 

3d.  By  a  sound  and  useful  state  of  those  organs  by 
which  every  thing  added  to  us  from  without  must  be 
assimilated  before  it  can  do  us  good.  These  essential 
organs  are  the  lungs,  stomach,  and  skin  ;  on  the  pre- 
serving of  which  in  a  sound  state,  vital  nourishment 
depends  in  a  very  particular  manner. 

4th.  By  an  uniform  diffusion  of  the  power  throughout 
the  whole  body.  Every  part,  every  intestine,  every 
point  of  our  bodies,  must  obtain  such  a  quantity  of  the 
vital  power  as  may  be  necessary  to  enable  it  to  dis- 
charge its  functions  properly.  Does  any  part  acquire 
too  little,  a  weakness  of  it  is  the  consequence  ;  if  it  ac- 
quire too  much,  the  consequences  are  too  violent  motion, 
irritation,  accumulations  of  it ;  and  then  that  harmony, 
the  grand  pillar  of  sound  life,  is,  at  any  rate,  always 


TONE    AND    STRENGTH    OF    ORGANS.  151 

destroyed.  This  uniform  distribution  of  the  power  may 
be  promoted,  in  particular,  by  the  uniform  use  and  ex- 
ercise of  each  part  and  each  organ  of  the  body ;  by 
bodily  motion ;  proper  gymnastic  exercises ;  the  tepid 
bath,  and  friction. 

II.  A  sufficient  degree  of  solidity  or  hardness  must  be 
given  to  the  organs  or  corporeal  matter  ;  but  not  such  as 
to  render  them  actually  stiff  and  rigid,  which,  instead  of 
being  beneficial  to  the  body,  would  be  hurtful  to  it. 

The  hardness  to  which  I  here  allude  is  of  two  kinds  : 
increased  binding  and  cohesion  of  the  component  parts, 
as  well  as  physical  solidity  of  the  vessels ;  and  next, 
hardening  the  sensation  against  noxious  and  morbid 
impressions. 

Sufficient  solidity  or  cohesion  of  the  vessels,  which 
physicians  call  tone,  acts  in  the  following  manner,  in 
regard  to  the  prolongation  of  life  :  — 

First,  as  the  cohesion  of  our  component  parts  is 
thereby  increased,  they  cannot  be  so  speedily  wasted, 
destroyed,  and  separated  by  the  vital  process ;  conse- 
quently the  change  of  the  component  parts  is  not  so 
rapid :  it  is  not  necessary  that  they  should  be  so  often 
renewed ;  and  the  whole  intensive  life  is  more  slow, 
which  is  always  an  advantage  in  regard  to  its  extension 
and  duration.  —  For  the  better  illustration  of  this  sub- 
ject, I  shall  here  only  compare  the  life  of  a  child  with 
that  of  a  man.  In  the  former,  the  power  of  cohesion, 
the  solidity  of  the  vessels  are  much  less  ;  the  connection 
of  the  component  parts  is  weaker  and  more  lax,  it 
wastes  away  therefore  much  speedier ;  the  change  of 
its  component  parts  is  more  rapid ;  it  must  eat  more, 
and  much  oftener ;  it  must  sleep  longer,  and  more  fre- 


152  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

quently,  to  renew  what  has  been  lost ;  and  the  blood 
must  circulate  with  far  greater  velocity  ;  in  a  word,  its 
intensive  life  and  self-consumption  are  much  stronger 
than  in  a  man  who  has  vessels  more  solid. 

Secondly,  as  the  organs  are  thereby,  in  reality,  first 
strengthened.  The  vital  power  alone  supplies  no 
strength.  To  produce  what  we  call  strength  of  the 
organs,  and  also  of  the  whole  system,  a  sufficient  degree 
of  the  simple  power  of  cohesion  must  be  combined  with 
the  vital  power.  This  likewise  will  appear  in  the 
clearest  manner,  from  the  comparison  of  a  child  with  a 
man.  A  child  is  far  more  abundant  in  vital  power, 
irritability,  tendency  to  growth,  and  the  power  of  repro- 
duction, than  a  man  ;  yet  this  body,  so  rich  in  life,  has 
less  strength  than  that  of  a  man,  merely  because  the 
cohesion  of  the  vessels  in  the  child  is  weaker  and  more 
loose. 

Lastly,  because  the  too  great  morbific  or  irregular 
irritability,  sensibility,  and  general  delicacy  of  the  ves- 
sels, are  regulated,  moderaied,  kept  wiihin  proper 
bounds,  and  preserved  in  good  order,  by  a  sufficient 
mixture- of  the  power  of  cohesion  ;  and  by  these  means 
the  too  strong  irritation  and  consumption  of  the  powi  r 
by  life  is  lessened ;  the  extension  and  duration  of  life 
are,  consequently,  increased  ;  and  this  advantage  also 
is  gained,  that  external  noxious  causes  of  irritation  act 
less  rapidly,  and  with  less  violence. 

By  a  stronger  cohesion,  the  capacity  of  the  matter 
for  receiving  vital  power  seems  also  to  be  heightened; 
at  any  rate,  a  stronger  connection  of  the  vital  pow(  r 
with  the  matter  is  effected. 

The  means  by  which  this  increased  solidity  and  co- 


TONE    AND    STRENGTH    OF    ORGANS.  153 

Lesion   of  the  vessels   can   be   produced,   are   as   fol- 
lows :  — 

1st.  Exercise,  and  the  use  of  the  muscular  powers 
and  vessels,  both  voluntary,  by  voluntary  muscular  mo- 
tion, as  well  as  involuntary,  for  example,  of  the  stomach 
and  intestines  by  suitable  stimulants,  such  as  food  some- 
what solid  or  hard ;  and  of  the  bloodvessels,  by  some- 
what stimulating  medicines.  On  each  movement  of  a 
vessel,  it  contracts  ;  that  is  to  say,  its  component  parts 
approach  each  other;  and  if  this  be  done  often,  its 
cohesion  or  tone  will  be  increased.  One  only  must  be 
extremely  cautious  not  to  occasion  too  strong  an  irrita- 
tion, else  consumption  might  be  too  much  increased, 
and  the  consequences  become  dangerous. 

2nd.  The  use  of  gelatinous,  corroborating  nourish- 
ment, impregnated  with  ferruginous  particles,  wh'ch 
increase  this  power ;  and  to  avoid  too  many  watery 
substances,  which  might  lessen  it. 

3rd.  To  promote  moderate  perspiration  by  friction, 
motion,  etc. 

4th.  A  cool  temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  and  of 
the  whole  system,  a  point  of  the  utmost  importance. 
Though  cold  is  not  a  positive  strengthener  of  the  vital 
power,  yet  it  increases  and  strengthens  the  weak  cohe- 
sive power  or  tone  ;  corrects  too  strong  exertion  of  the 
vital  power,  as  well  as  prevents  it  from  being  exhausted  ; 
and,  in  this  manner,  can  be  a  negative  strengthener  of 
the  vital  power  itself.  Warmth,  on  the  other  hand, 
weakens,  partly  by  relaxing  the  cohesion,  and  partly 
by  exhausting  the  vital  power. 

1  must,  however,  repeat,  in  regard  to  all  these  means, 
cold,  strong  substantial  nourishment,  motion,  etc.,  that 


154  ART    OF   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

one  must  not  carry  them  too  far,  lest,  instead  of  the 
requisite  solidity,  too  great  stiffness  or  rigidity  of  the 
vessels  should  be  produced. 

The  sensation  will  be  best  hardened  against  the 
causes  of  disease,  if  one  accustoms  oneself  to  such  im- 
pressions, and  to  sudden  changes. 

III.  The  vital  consumption  must  be  so  lessened,  or 
moderated,  that  it  may  not  be  attended  with  too  speedy 
wasting  of  the  powers  and  the  organs. 

The  whole  vital  operation,  as  has  been  already  shown, 
consists  in  action,  exertion  of  the  vital  power ;  and  is 
consequently  connected,  in  an  inseparable  manner,  with 
consumption  and  wasting  of  that  power.  This  is  the 
case,  not  only  in  regard  to  the  voluntary,  but  also  the 
involuntary,  functions  ;  not  only  in  the  external,  but 
also  the  internal,  vital  operations  ;  for  they  are  sup- 
ported by  continual  irritation  and  reaction.  Neither  of 
these,  therefore,  must  be  overstrained,  if  we  are  desir- 
ous of  preventing  consumption. 

Among  these  I  reckon,  in  a  particular  manner,  the 
following  irritations  and  exertions  of  power  :  — 

1st.  Straining  the  system  of  the  heart  and  blood, 
with  too  great  quickening  of  the  circulation  ;  that  is,  by 
too  stimulating,  hot  nourishment,  affections,  and  feverish 
disorders.  Great  wine  and  brandy  drinkers,  as  well  as 
passionate  people,  have  a  quick  accelerated  pulse,  and 
keep  themselves  in  an  incessant  artificial  fever,  by  which 
they  are  as  much  wasted  and  consumed  as  they  would 
be  by  a  real  fever. 

2d.  Too  strong  or  continued  straining  of  the  powers 
of  thought ;  by  which,  not  only  the  vital  power  is  ex- 
hausted, but  the  stomach  and  system  of  digestion  are 


RESTRICTED    VITAL    CONSUMPTION.  155 

injured,  and,  consequently,  the  most  important  means 
of  restoration  are  weakened. 

3d.  Too  abundant  and  too  strong  irritation  and  grat- 
ification of  the  animal  passions.  These  tend  as  much 
to  hasten  vital  consumption,  as  straining  the  powers  of 
thought. 

4th.  Too  violent  and  too  long  continued  muscular 
motion.  Very  great  excess,  however,  is  necessary 
before  this  can  be  hurtful. 

5th.  All  strong  or  long  continued  excretions,  such  as 
perspiration,  diarrhoea,  catarrh,  cough,  loss  of  blood, 
etc.  These  exhaust  not  only  the  power,  but  also  the 
matter,  and  tend  to  corrupt  the  quality  of  the  latter. 

6th.  All  too  violent  or  too  long  continued  causes  of 
irritation  acting  upon  us,  by  which  the  power  is  always 
exhausted.  The  more  irritable  a  life  is,  the  quicker  it 
will  pass  away.  To  these  belong  too  strong  or  too 
incessant  irritation  of  the  organs  of  the  mind  and  sensa- 
tion ;  passions,  excess  in  wine,  brandy,  spiceries,  and 
seasoning  of  food.  Frequent  overloading  the  stomach 
may  be  included  in  the  same  class  ;  especially  as  it  for 
the  most  part  renders  necessary  the  use  of  evacuants 
and  purgatives,  which,  as  they  weaken,  are  also  preju- 
dicial. 

7th.  Diseases  with  highly  increased  irritation,  parti- 
cularly such  as  are  feverish. 

8th.  Heat,  when  it  acts  upon  us  too  incessantly  and 
with  too  much  strength.  Keeping  the  body  too  warm, 
therefore,  from  infancy,  is  one  of  the  greatest  means  to 
hasten  consumption,  and  to  shorten  the  duration  of 
life. 

9th.  In  the  last  place,  too  great  a  degree  of  irrita- 


156  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

bility  and  sensibility  in  the  vessels  deserves  also  to  be 
inserted  in  this  rubric.  The  greater  these  are,  the  easier 
can  any  stimulus,  even  the  smallest,  excite  violent  irrita- 
tion, exertion  of  power,  and  consequently  occasion  a  waste 
of  that  power.  A  man  with  this  faulty  constitution  is 
sensible  of  a  great  many  impressions  which  have  no 
effect  on  common  men,  and  is  doubly  affected  even  by 
the  most  usual  accidents  of  life.  His  intensive  life,  of 
course,  is  infinitely  stronger  ;  but  his  vital  consumption 
must  be  greatly  accelerated.  Every  thing,  therefore, 
which  can  increase  irritability,  either  moral  or  physical, 
may  be  reckoned  to  belong  to  those  means  which  hasten 
consumption. 

IV.  Restoration  of  the  lost  powers  and  matter  must 
be  effected  easily  and  completely.  For  this  purpose  the 
following  things  are  necessary  :  — 

1st.  Soundness,  vigor,  and  activity  of  those  organs 
by  which  the  restorative  particles  must  pass  into  our 
bodies.  This  process  is,  in  part,  continual  and  perma- 
nent, as  through  the  lungs  ;  and  partly  periodical,  as 
through  the  stomach.  To  these  organs  belong  the 
lungs,  the  skin,  the  stomach,  and  the  intestines.  That 
restoration  may  be  performed  well,  these  parts  must  be 
thoroughly  sound,  fit  for  use,  and  active.  They  are 
consequently  of  the  utmost  importance  in  prolonging 
life 

2d.  Soundness,  activity,  and  vigor  of  the  innumera- 
ble vessels,  by  which  the  component  parts  received 
into  our  bodies  must  be  assimilated,  rendered  homoge- 
neous, be  brought  to  perfection,  and  ennobled.  This  is 
first,  and  in  a  particular  manner  the  function  of  the 
absorbing  or  lacteal  system,  with  its  multitude  of 


RESTORATION     OF     VITAL     POWER.  157 

glands  ;  and,  secondly,  of  circulation,  or  the  system  of 
the  blood,  by  which  organic  ennobling  is  completed.  I 
consider  the  absorbing  system,  therefore,  as  one  of  the 
grand  means  of  restoration.  In  this  respect  we  must, 
above  all  things,  direct  our  attention  to  infancy  ;  for  the 
first  nourishment  in  the  tenderest  state  of  childhood, 
the  treatment,  during  the  first  year  of  life,  determine, 
for  the  most  part,  the  condition  of  this  system,  as  it  too 
often  happens  that  it  is  destroyed  in  the  beginning,  by 
weak,  corrupted,  viscid  nourishment,  and  impurities  ; 
and  an  essential  foundation  is  thus  laid  for  a  short  life. 

3d.  A  sound  state  of  the  nourishment  and  matter 
from  which  we  are  restored.  Our  food  and  drink  must 
be  pure,  that  is,  free  from  corrupted  particles ;  abun- 
dant in  nutritive  principles ;  stimulating  in  a  certain 
degree,  for  that  quality  is  necessary  to  promote  proper 
digestion  and  the  whole  vital  operation,  but  combined, 
at  the  same  time,  with  a  sufficient  quantity  of  water  or 
of  fluids.  The  last  is  ah  important  circumstance,  but 
often  neglected.  Water,  if  it  be  not  nourishment  of 
itself,  (though  this,  by  the  instance  of  fishes,  worms, 
etc.,  who  may  be  fed  for  a  long  time  with  water  alone, 
seems  highly  probable,)  is  at  any  rate  indispensably 
necessary  for  the  business  of  restoration  and  nourish- 
ment ;  first,  because  it  must  be  the  vehicle  for  the 
proper  nutritive  substances,  in  order  that  they  may  be 
sufficiently  diifused  from  the  intestines  to  every  point 
of  the  body  ;  and,  secondly,  because  this  vehicle  is  abso- 
lutely necessary  to  produce  sufficient  secretion  and 
evacuation  of  what  is  corrupted,  and  consequently  for 
the  purification  of  the  body. 

4th.  A  healthful  and  proper  state  of  the  atmosphere 


158  ART    9F   PROLONGING    LIFE. 

in  which  and  on  which  we  live.  The  air  is  our  pecu- 
liar element ;  and,  in  two  points  of  view,  an  important 
medium  of  restoration.  First,  because  it  communicates 
to  us  two  of  the  most  spiritual  and  most  necessary  com- 
ponent parts  of  life,  oxygen  and  heat ;  and,  secondly, 
because  it  is  the  most  important  vehicle  for  attracting 
from  us  and  absorbing  our  component  particles  which 
have  become  corrupted.  It  is  the  principal  medium  for 
this  continual  exchange  of  the  finer  component  parts. 
The  far  most  considerable  and  important  of  our  excre- 
tions are  gaseous  ;  that  is  to  say,  the  matter  must  be 
converted  into  vapour  in  order  to  be  expelled.  To 
these  belong  all  excretions  of  the  superficies  of  our 
bodies,  the  skin,  and  the  lungs.  This  evaporation  de- 
pends not  merely  on  the  power  and  activity  of  the 
vessels  of  respiration,  but  on  the  quality  of  the  air 
which  they  draw  in.  The  more  it  is  already  loaded 
with  component  parts,  the  less  new  substance  can  it  re- 
ceive ;  and,  therefore,  moist  air  checks  perspiration. 
From  these  principles  we  may  deduce  the  following 
conclusions  :  —  The  atmosphere  in  which  we  live  must 
contain  a  sufficient  quantity  of  vital  air,  but  not  too 
much,  else  it  might  stimulate  too  violently  and  hasten 
vital  consumption.  It  must  likewise  contain  as  few 
foreign  component  parts  dissolved  in  it  as  possible :  it 
must  also  be  neither  moist,  nor  rendered  impure  by 
earthy,  .vegetable,  or  animal  particles  :*  its  temperature 

*  In  defining  corrupted  air  an  accurate  distinction  should  be 
made  between  impure  air  and  saturated  air,  which  in  general  are 
confounded.  Corruption  of  the  air  may  consist  either  in  too  small 
a  quantity  of  oxygen  gas,  or  in  the  chemical  mixture ;  and  air  so 
corrupted  may  be  called  impure  air,  in  opposition  to  pure  vital 


RESTORATION     OF     VITAL     POWER.  159 

must  be  neither  too  warm  nor  too  cold ;  for,  in  the 
former  case,  it  exhausts  and  weakens  the  power,  in  the 
latter  makes  the  vessels  too  stiff  and  rigid  :  and  it  must 
neither  in  its  temperature,  mixture,  nor  pressure,  be 
subject  to  too  rapid  changes ;  for  it  is  a  law,  fully  con- 
firmed by  experience,  that  uniformity  in  the  atmosphere 
and  climate  is  uncommonly  favourable  to  long  life. 

5th.  A  free  passage  and  active  organs  to  promote 
secretion  and  evacuation  of  the  corrupted  component 
particles.  Our  life  consists  of  a  continual  change  of 
component  parts.  Were  not  those  which  have  been 
Exhausted  and  rendered  useless  continually  separated 
and  expelled,  it  would  be  impossible  that  we  could  ap- 
propriate new  ones  in  sufficient  quantity ;  and,  what  is 
still  worse,  the  new  addition,  by  being  mixed  with  those 
particles  kept  back,  would  itself  acquire  the  character 
of  corruption.  Hence,  the  so-called  acridity,  viscosity, 
impurity,  and  putrefaction  of  the  juices,  or  rather  of  the 
whole  matter  of  the  body.  Restoration,  therefore,  is  by 
bad  secretion  prevented  two  ways ;  partly  in  the  quan- 
tity and  partly  in  the  quality.  The  organs  on  which 
this  secretion  and  purifying  of  the  body  principally  de- 
pend are  the  skin,  the  kidneys,  the  liver,  the  intestines, 
and  the  lungs.  Of  these  the  first  is  the  most  important, 
as  it  is  calculated  that  two  thirds  of  the  component  parts 
which  have  been  used,  evaporate  by  the  insensible  per- 
spiration of  the  skin. 

6th.  To  stimulate  the  senses  in  an  agreeable  manner, 
and  with  moderation.  Man,  in  consequence  of  the  su- 

air ;  or  it  may  be  corrupted  by  foreign  component  parts  received 
into  it,  and  then  it  is  called  saturated. 


160  ART    OF    PROLONGING    LIFE. 

periority  of  his  organization,  as  has  been  already  shown, 
and  of  his  higher  physical  perfection,  is  susceptible  of 
more  refined  as  well  as  more  exalted  impressions ;  and, 
consequently,  they  must  have  a  greater  influence  on  the 
physical  state  of  his  life  than  on  animals.  By  these 
means  there  is  opened  for  him  a  new  source  of  restora- 
tion, which  is  denied  to  animals  ;  the  enjoyment  and 
stimulus  of  sensual  pleasure,  when  not  carried  to  too 
great  a  length. 

7th.  Putting  the  mind  in  an  agreeable  frame  ;  joyful 
and  moderate  affections ;  a  succession  of  new,  grand 
ideas  ;  creating,  combining,  and  varying  them.  These 
more  exalted  pleasures,  exclusively  peculiar  to  man, 
belong  to  this  catalogue  of  the  means  which  contribute 
to  prolong  his  existence.  Hope,  love,  and  joy  are  there- 
fore happy  affections  ;  and  there  is  nothing  which  tends 
with  so  much  certainty  and  so  generally  to  preserve 
life  and  health  as  cheerfulness  and  serenity  of  mind. 
Such  a  disposition  keeps  the  vital  power  in  a  proper 
uniform  state,  promotes  circulation  and  digestion,  and 
assists,  in  a  very  powerful  manner,  the  function  of  in- 
sensible perspiration.  Happy,  therefore,  even  in  a 
physical  point  of  view,  is  that  man  on  whom  Heaven 
has  bestowed  a  contented  and  serene  mind,  or  who,  by 
improving  and  cultivating  his  moral  faculties,  has  been 
able  to  procure  that  blessing.  He  has  within  himself 
the  noblest  and  purest  balsam  of  life. 

The  principles  here  laid  down  contain  the  funda- 
mental rules  on  which  every  rational  general  plan  for 
prolonging  life  must  be  founded.  But  what  is  necessary 
in  regard  to  every  dietetic  and  medicinal  precept  is 


PRINCIPLES   MODIFYING    RESTORATION.          161 

necessary  here,  that,  in  applying  them,  regard  must  be 
had  to  special  cases ;  and  that,  therefore,  they  must  be 
more  accurately  modified  and  determined. 

The  following  circumstances,  in  particular,  are  to  be 
attended  to  in  the  application  of  them : 

Difference  of  constitution,  in  the  subjects,  in  regard  to 
their  simple  component  parts  and  vessels.  The  drier, 
the  harder,  and  more  rigid  the  state  of  the  body  natu- 
rally is,  the  less  need  there  will  be  for  employing  the 
means  of  the  second  indication,  that  is,  a  proper  hard- 
ening ;  but  the  more  relaxed  .the  vessels  are  by  nature, 
the  contrary  must  be  the  case. 

Further,  the  different  innate  temperaments,  under 
which  I  comprehend  the  different  degrees  of  irritability, 
and  their  relation  to  the  powers  of  the  soul.  The  more 
a  subject  inclines  to  the  phlegmatic  temperament,  the 
more  and  the  stronger  irritants  may  be  employed.  A 
degree  of  irritation,  which  in  a  sanguine  temperament 
would  waste  and  exhaust,  is  here  beneficial ;  necessary 
to  promote  a  sufficient  degree  of  vital  operation,  and  a 
means  of  restoration.  The  case  is  the  same  with  the 
melancholic  temperament:  it  requires  more  irritation, 
but  variegated,  of  a  pleasant  nature,  and  not  too  vio- 
lent. The  more  the  sanguine  temperament  prevails, 
the  more  cautiously  and  moderately  must  all  stimulants 
as  well  physical  as  moral  be  employed ;  and  in  this 
respect,  the  choleric,  where  the  smallest  stimulus  may 
often  produce  the  most  violent  exertion  arid  rapid 
wasting,  requires  the  greatest  attention. 

The  periods  of  life.  —  Children  and  young  people 
have  far  more  vital  power  and  irritability  ;  their  struc- 
ture is  less  solid    and  the  change  of  their  component 
11 


162  ART    OF   PROLONGING  LIFE. 

parts  is  more  rapid.  Much  less  irritation  must,  there- 
fore, be  here  given,  because  a  small  irritation  excites 
strong  reaction.  More  regard  must  be  proportionally 
paid  to  restoration  and  hardening.  In  old  age,  on  the 
other  hand,  every  thing  called  irritation  may  be  em- 
ployed in  a  stronger  degree.  What  in  infancy  would 
be  consumption,  is  here  restoration.  Milk  is  wine  for 
children;  wine  is  milk  for  old  people.  Old  age  requires, 
therefore,  on  account  of  the  great  rigidity  connected 
with  it,  not  an  increase  of  that  quality  by  the  second 
indication,  but  a  lessening  of  it  by  means  of  emollients 
and  moistening  things,  meat-broths,  strong  soups,  and 
the  tepid  bath. 

Lastly,  —  Climate,  also,  makes  some  difference.  The 
more  southern  it  is,  the  greater  is  the  irritability  ;  the 
stronger  continual  irritation  is,  the  more  rapid  will  the 
stream  of  life  flow,  and  the  shorter  will  be  its  duration. 
Great  attention  is  here  necessary  that  this  exhausting 
of  the  power  by  too  strong  irritation,  may  not  be  accele- 
rated. In  a  northern  climate,  on  the  other  hand,  where 
the  temperature  being  cooler  concentrates  the  power 
more,  and  keeps  it  together,  this  is  much  less  to  be  ap- 
prehended. 


ART  OF  PROLONGING  LIFE. 


PART    THE    SECOND. 


I  NOW  proceed  to  the  most  important  part  of  this 
Treatise,  the  Practical  Art  of  Prolonging  Life ;  and  I 
can  now  make  known  with  confidence,  and  on  good 
grounds,  those  means  by  which  alone  prolongation  of  it 
is  possible.  If  they  are  not  so  specious,  so  boasting, 
and  so  mysterious  as  those  commonly  recommended, 
they  have  this  advantage,  that  they  may  be  everywhere 
found  without  expense,  nay,  that  they  in  part  lie  within 
ourselves ;  that  they  are  perfectly  consistent  with  reason, 
as  well  as  experience ;  and  that  they  prolong,  not 
merely  life,  but  also  the  enjoyment  of  it.  In  a  word, 
according  to  my  idea,  they  deserve  the  name  of  univer- 
sal remedies,  much  more  than  all  the  panaceas  of 
quackery  and  imposture. 

We  are  continually  surrounded  by  the  friends  and 
the  enemies  of  life.  He  who  keeps  company  with  its 
friends,  will  become  old ;  but  he  who  prefers  its  ene- 
mies, will  shorten  his  existence.  It  might  be  expected 
of  every  prudent  man,  that  he  would  prefer  the  former, 
and  be  always  on  his  guard  against  the  latter ;  but  it  is 


164  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN  LIFE. 

an  unfortunate  circumstance  that  these  enemies  of  life 
are  not  all  public  and  known.  They,  in  part,  carry  on 
their  attacks  secretly  and  imperceptibly;  so  that  some 
of  them  assume  the  mask  of  life's  best  friends.  It  is, 
therefore,  difficult  to  discover  them  ;  and  some  we  even 
harbor  within  our  own  bosoms. 

The  principal  part  of  this  Art,  then,  will  consist  in 
being  able  to  distinguish  our  friends  from  our  enemies, 
and  in  learning  to  guard  against  the  latter.  In  other 
words,  the  Art  of  prolonging  Life  may  be  divided  into 
two  parts :  — 

I.   Guarding  against  the  enemies  of  life,  and  those 

means  which  shorten  it. 

II.  The  knowledge  and  use  of  those  means  which 
tend  to  prolong  it. 


MEANS   WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

ACCORDING  to  the  principles  before  laid  down,  the 
Only  grounds  on  which  the  duration  of  life  depends,  it 
will  not  be  difficult  to  determine  in  how  many  different 
•ways  it  may  be  shortened. 

I     1st.  Every  thing  must  shorten  it  which  lessens  the 

sum  of  the  vital  powers ; 

2nd.  Every  thing  that  takes  from  the  organs  of  life 
their  duration  and  renders  them  unfit  for  use ; 
3rd.  Every  thing  that  hastens  vital  consumption ; 
•     4th.  And  every  thing  that  prevents  restoration. 


MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE.  165 

Every  thing  that  shortens  life  may  be  comprehended 
in  these  four  classes;  and  we  have  now  a  standard  by 
which  the  greater  or  less  mischief,  occasioned  by  their 
influence,  can  be  determined  and  appreciated.  The 
more  these  four  properties  are  in  any  thing  united,  the 
more  dangerous  and  hostile  will  it  be  to  our  vital  dura- 
tion ;  and  the  fewer  it  contains,  it  will  be  less  so.  Nay, 
there  are  mixed  substances  which  present  as  it  were 
two  sides,  one  friendly,  and  another  hostile ;  that  is  to 
say,  which  possess  one  of  the  above  properties,  but  at 
the  same  time  are  more  favorable  and  beneficial  to  us 
than  hurtful.  These  may  form  one  peculiar  class,  but 
we  shall  here,  according  to  their  prevailing  quality, 
assign  them  a  place,  either  among  those  things  which 
are  friendly,  or  those  which  are  hostile. 

Between  those  things  which  shorten  life,  there  is  a 
difference  still  more  important.  Some  act  slowly,  suc- 
cessively, and  often  very  imperceptibly.  Others,  on  the 
contrary,  violently  as  well  as  suddenly ;  and  these  may 
be  rather  named  the  destroyers  of  life.  To  these  belong 
certain  diseases,  and  the  various  kinds  of  violent  death, 
as  they  are  properly  called.  The  latter,  in  general, 
are  much  more  dreaded  than  the  former,  because  their 
effects  are  more  perceptible  and  more  terrible :  but  I 
can  assure  my  readers,  that  they  are  at  bottom  much 
less  dangerous  than  these  secret  enemies;  for  they  are 
so  open  that  people  can  be  much  sooner  on  their  guard 
against  them  than  against  the  former,  which  carry  on 
their  destructive  approaches  in  private,  and  daily  steal 
from  us  some  part  of  life  without  our  perceiving  it, 
though  the  loss  in  the  end  may  amount  to  a  sum  truly 
alarming. 


166  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

I  must  here  make  one  melancholy  remark,  which  is, 
that  the  enemies  of  our  life  have,  in  modern  times, 
dreadfully  increased  ;  and  that  the  degree  of  civilization, 
luxury,  refinement,  and  deviation  from  nature,  in  which 
we  at  present  live,  by  so  highly  exalting  our  intensive 
life,  tends  also  to  shorten,  in  the  same  proportion,  our 
existence.  We  shall  find,  on  close  examination,  that 
men  appear,  as  it  were,  to  have  anxiously  studied  how 
they  might  deprive  each  other  of  life  secretly  and  im- 
perceptibly, and  often  in  the  most  ingenious  manner 
possible.  Much  more  precaution  and  attention  are, 
therefore,  now  necessary  in  order  to  secure  ourselves 
from  danger. 


CHAPTER  I. 

\ 

Delicate  nursing  and  treatment  in  infancy. 

THERE  is  no  surer  method  of  rendering  the  vital 
thread  of  a  being  from  its  origin  short  and  perishable, 
than  by  giving  it,  during  the  first  years  of  life,  which 
may  be  considered  as  a  continued  generation  and  ex- 
pansion, a  very  warm,  tender,  and  delicate  education  ; 
that  is,  by  guarding  it  from  every  breath  of  cool  air ; 
burying  it  for  at  least  a  year  among  pillows  and  blankets, 
and  keeping  it  like  a  chicken  in  a  real  state  of  hatching; 
not  omitting,  at  the  same  time,  to  stuff  it  immoderately 
with  food  ;  and,  by  coffee,  chocolate,  wine,  spice,  and 
such  like  things,  (which  for  children  are  nothing  else 
than  poison,)  to  irritate  it  beyond  measure,  and  to  ren- 
der its  whole  vital  activity  too  strong  and  violent. 
By  these  means  its  internal  consumption  is  from  its 
birth  so  accelerated,  its  intensive  life  is  so  early  exalted, 
and  its  organs  are  rendered  so  weak,  tender,  and  sensi- 
ble, that  one  may  assert  that,  through  two  years'  treat- 
ment of  this  kind,  an  innate  vital  capacity  of  sixty 
years  may  be  reduced  one  half;  nay,  as  experience  un- 
fortunately shows,  to  much  less,  without  reckoning  those 
evil  accidents  and  diseases  which  may  besides  be  the 
consequence.  The  premature  expansion  of  our  organs 
and  powers  is  by  nothing  so  much  hastened  as  by 
such  a  forced  education ;  and  we  have  before  proved 


168  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

what  an  intimate  connection  there  is  between  rapid  or 
slow  expansion,  and  a  longer  and  shorter  duration  of 
life  in  general.  Speedy  ripening  carries  always  along 
with  it*  speedy  destruction.  This,  certainly,  is  one 
great  cause  of  the  dreadful  mortality  which  prevails 
among  children.  But  men  overlook  those  causes  which 
lie  nearest  to  them,  and  assume  rather  the  most  absurd, 
in  order  that  their  minds  may  be  at  rest,  and  that  they 
may  have  as  little  to  do  as  possible. 

#  One  of  the  most  remarkable  instances  of  the  prematurity  of 
nature  was  Louis  II.,  King  of  Hungary.  He  was  born  so  long 
before  the  time  that  he  had  no  skin.  In  his  second  year  he  was 
crowned ;  in  his  tenth  he  succeeded ;  in  his  fourteenth  he  had  a 
complete  beard ;  in  his  fifteenth  he  married ;  in  his  eighteenth  he 
had  gray  hair,  and  in  his  twentieth  he  died. 


CHAPTER  II. 

Physical  excess   in  youth. 

"As  youth  is  the  period  of  growth,  of  forming  and 
collecting  the  powers  of  the  future  man,  every  kind  of 
excess  calculated  to  weaken  or  exhaust  the  vital  powers 
should  be  carefully  guarded  against.  There  are  certain 
active  properties  which  belong  to  this  period,  such  as 
muscular  motion,  which  can  hardly  be  carried  beyond 
the  bounds  of  health.  But  the  excesses  most  to  be 
dreaded  are  those  which  spring  from  a  too  early  antici- 
pation of  the  future  man,  in  which  the  imagination  and 
the  feelings  play  a  conspicuous  part.  Youth,  it  cannot 
be  too  often  repeated,  is  the  time  for  storing  strength, 
both  physical  and  moral ;  and  every  act  which  can  in 
any  way  impede  or  frustrate  this  all-wise  intention  of 
Nature,  will  tend  to  lay  the  foundation  of  a  weak  and 
imperfect  body,  and  shorten  the  days  of  its  possessor. 
Among  the  passions  of  the  future  man,  which  at  this 
period  should  be  strictly  restrained,  is  that  of  physical 
love;  for  none  wars  so  completely  against  the  princi- 
ples which  have  been  already  laid  down  as  the  most 
conducive  to  long  life  ;  no  excess  so  thoroughly  lessens 
the  sum  of  the  vital  power;  none  so  much  weakens  and 
softens  the  organs  of  life  ;  none  is  more  active  in  hasten- 
ing vital  consumption;  and  none  so  totally  prohibits 
restoration. 


170  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

I  might,  if  it  were  necessary,  draw  a  painful,  nay,  a 
frightful  picture,  of  the  results  of  these  melancholy  ex- 
cesses ;  but  I  refrain,  in  the  hope  that  this  simple 
caution  will  be  sufficient.  To  my  youthful  readers  I 
will  simply  say,  Be  wise  in  time.  Experience  may 
appear  a  harsh,  but,  nevertheless,  she  is  a  just  mon- 
itor."—  EDITOR. 


CHAPTER    III. 

Overstrained  exertion  of  the  mental  faculties. 

MENTAL  as  well  as  bodily  excess,  is  attended  with 
destructive  consequences  ;  and  it  is  worthy  of  remark, 
that  too  great  exertion  of  the  mental  faculties,  and  the 
waste  of  the  vital  power  connected  with  it,  produce  on 
the  health  and  vital  duration  almost  the  same  effects 
as  a  waste  of  the  physical  powers  —  loss  of  the  power 
of  digestion,  depression,  dejection,  weakness  of  the 
nerves,  consumption,  and  premature  death. 

Much,  however,  depends  here  on  the  difference  of 
structure  and  constitution ;  and  those  who  have  natu- 
rally a  stronger  and  more  active  organization  of  soul, 
must  suffer  less  from  such  exertion  than  those  who  are 
destitute  of  that  advantage.  Those,  therefore,  are  most 
affected  by  it,  who,  with  a  moderate  structure  of  mind, 
attempt  to  force  it  beyond  its  powers  ;  and  that  exces- 
sive mental  exertion  which  we  make  involuntarily,  and 
without  pleasure  in  the  object  of  it,  will  hence  weaken 
us  most. 

But  it  may  here  be  asked,  What  is  meant  by  excess 
in  mental  exertion  ?  This,  in  general,  is  as  difficult  to 
be  defined  as  excess  in  eating  and  drinking ;  because 
the  whole  depends  on  the  difference  in  the  capacity  and 
state  of  the  mental  powers,  and  these  are  as  different 


172  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

as  the  powers  of  digestion.  That  may  be  excess  of 
mental  exertion  for  one,  which  is  not  so  for  another, 
endowed  with  stronger  faculties.  The  circumstances, 
also,  under  which  that  function  is  exercised,  make  a 
very  essential  difference.  I  shall,  therefore,  define 
more  accurately  what  is  to  be  understood  by  excess  in 
the  function  of  thinking. 

1st.  When  one,  while  employed  in  abstruse  thought, 
neglects  too  much  the  body.  Every  irregular  exertion 
of  our  powers  is  hurtful ;  and  as  a  man  is  infinitely 
more  weakened  when  he  exercises  his  thought  without 
attending  to  bodily  exercise,  it  is  equally  certain  that 
those  can  undergo  more  mental  labor,  and  with  much 
less  injury  to  their  health,  who,  in  the  mean  time,  give 
to  the  body  suitable  and  periodical  exercise. 

2d.  When  one  thinks  too  incessantly  on  the  same 
subject.  The  same  law  prevails  here  as  in  regard  to 
muscular  motion.  When  one  moves  the  arm  continu- 
ally in  the  same  direction,  one,  in  a  quarter  of  an  hour, 
will  become  more  fatigued  than  if  the  limb  had  been 
moved  two  hours  in  various  directions.  Nothing  ex- 
hausts so  much  as  uniformity  in  the  pursuit  and  em- 
ployment of  the  mental  powers  ;  and  Boerhaave  tells 
us  that  after  having  bestowed  intense  study,  for  a  few 
days  and  nights,  on  the  same  object,  he  fell  suddenly 
into  such  a  state  of  lassitude  and  relaxation,  that  he  lay 
some  time  in  an  insensible  and  deathlike  condition.  A 
proper  change  of  objects  is,  therefore,  the  first  rule  in 
order  to  study  without  injury  to  the  health,  and  even 
to  accomplish  more  work  upon  the  whole.  I  am  ac- 
quainted with  great  and  intense  thinkers,  mathemati- 
cians, and  philosophers,  who,  at  an  advanced  period  of 


OVERSTRAINED  MENTAL  EXERTION.      173 

life,  are  still  happy  and  contented;  but  I  know  also 
that  they  have  made  this  variety  a  law,  and  that  they 
always  divide  their  time  between  these  abstract  studies 
and  reading  history,  agreeable  poetry,  travels,  and 
works  of  natural  history.  It  is  of  great  benefit,  in  this 
respect,  to  unite  always  a  practical  with  a  speculative 
life. 

3d.  When  one  employs  the  mind  on  too  abstract  or 
difficult  subjects  ;  as  for  example,  problems  of  the 
higher  mathematics  and  metaphysics.  The  object 
makes  a  very  essential  difference.  The  more  abstract 
it  is,  and  the  more  it  obliges  one  to  disengage  one's  self 
from  the  sensual  world,  and,  as  it  were,  to  insulate  the 
mind  separated  from  the  body,  the  most  unnatural  state, 
without  doubt,  that  can  possibly  be,  the  more  weaken- 
ing and  overstraining  is  its  effect.  Half  an  hour  of 
such  abstraction  exhausts  more  than  a  whole  day  em- 
ployed in  translation.  But  here,  also,  a  great  deal  is 
relative.  Many  are  born  for  such  labor,  and  have 
those  powers  and  that  frame  of  mind  which  it  requires ; 
while  on  the  other  hand,  many  are  destitute  of  both, 
and  yet  endeavor  to  force  them.  It  appears  to  me  very 
singular  that,  when  it  is  requisite  to  raise  up  a  corpo- 
real burden,  people  always  first  try  it  by  their  strength, 
to  discover  whether  it  be  not  too  heavy  for  them  ;  but 
in  regard  to  a  mental  burden,  never  consult  their  powers 
to  know  whether  they  are  sufficient  to  sustain  it.  How 
many  have  I  seen  miserable  and  enervated,  merely 
because  they  attempted  to  dive  to  the  depths  of  philoso- 
phy without  having  philosophical  heads !  Must  every 
man,  then,  be  a  philosopher  by  profession,  as  seems  to 


174  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

be  the  mode  at  present  ?  In  my  opinion,  a  particular 
organization  is  necessary  for  that  purpose  ;  and  it  may 
be  left  to  the  chosen  few  to  investigate  and  unfold  the 
secrets  of  philosophy ;  as  to  others,  let  them  be  contented 
with  acting  and  living  like  philosophers. 

4th.  I  consider  it  also  as  excess,  when  one  labors 
always  in  creating  and  never  in  enjoying  what  has 
been  created  by  others.  The  labor  of  the  mind  may 
be  divided  into  two  parts :  the  creative,  which  produces 
of  itself  and  gives  birth  to  new  ideas  ;  and  the  recipient, 
or  passive,  which  merely  receives  and  enjoys  foreign 
ideas,  as,  for  example,  by  reading  or  hearing  others. 
The  former  is  by  far  the  most  exhausting ;  and  one 
ought,  therefore,  to  vary  them,  and  to  enjoy  them  in 
turns. 

oth.  When  one  begins  to  overstrain  the  mind  too 
early  in  infancy.  At  this  period  a  small  exertion  is 
highly  prejudicial.  Before  the  age  of  seven,  all  men- 
tal labor  is  an  unnatural  state,  and  attended  with  con- 
sequences as  fatal  to  the  body  as  the  most  exhausting 
excess. 

Gth.  When  one  studies  invita  Minerva,  that  is  ap- 
plies to  subjects  on  which  one  labors  involuntarily,  and 
not  con  amore.  The  more  inclination  one  has  for  any 
kind  of  mental  enjoyment,  exertion  will  be  the  less 
hurtful.  More  caution,  therefore,  is  necessary  in  the 
choice  of  studies ;  and  wretched  must  those  be  who 
neglect  an  object  of  so  much  importance. 

7th.  When  one  stimulates,  strengthens,  or  prolongs 
mental  exertion  by  artificial  means.  People  employ 
commonly,  for  this  purpose,  wine,  coffee,  or  snuff;  and 


OVERSTRAINED    MENTAL    EXERTION.  175 

though  these  artificial  helps  of  thought  are  in  general 
not  to  be  approved,  because  they  always  exhaust 
doubly,  it  must,  however,  be  confessed,  that,  at  those 
times  when  the  labor  of  the  mind  does  not  depend  upon 
the  will,  but  on  periods  and  hours,  they  cannot  alto- 
gether be  dispensed  with ;  and  on  such  occasions,  a 
dish  of  coffee,  a  pipe  of  tobacco,  or  a  pinch  of  snuff, 
may  be  the  most  sufferable.  But  let  people  be  on  their 
guard  against  excess  ;  because  an  abuse  of  them  must 
increase,  in  an  incredible  degree,  the  mischiefs  of  men- 
tal exertion. 

8th.  When  one  overstrains  the  mind  during  the  time 
of  digestion.  This  occasions  double  injury :  one  weak- 
ens one's  self  more,  as  more  exertion  is  then  necessary 
for  thinking,  and  interrupts  at  the  same  time  the  impor- 
tant function  of  digestion. 

9th.  When  one  employs,  in  mental  labor,  that  time 
which  ought  to  be  devoted  to  sleep  ;  a  custom  highly 
prejudicial  to  life,  and  of  which  I  shall  speak  more  ex- 
pressly when  I  come  to  treat  on  sleep. 

10th.  When  one  unites  study  with  hurtful  external 
circumstances ;  and  of  these  there  are  two  in  particu- 
lar, sitting  in  a  bent  posture,  and  confined  air  ;  which 
are  often  more  destructive  in  their  consequences  than 
intense  thinking  itself.  People,  therefore,  ought  to 
accustom  themselves  to  study  lying,  standing,  walking, 
or  riding  on  a  hobby ;  not  always  in  the  closet,  but 
sometimes  in  the  open  air ;  and  they  will  then  suffer 
much  less  from  those  diseases  which  are  so  incident 
to  men  of  letters.  The  ancient  philosophers  undoubt- 
edly studied  as  much  as  the  modern  literati ;  and  yet 


176  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

never  suffered  from  bodily  disease  induced  by  such 
study.  The  sole  cause  of  this  was,  that  they  medi- 
tated more,  lying  or  walking,  and  in  the  open  air ;  be- 
cause they  never  drank  coffee,  or  used  tobacco ;  and 
because  at  the  same  time  that  they  exercised  the  mind, 
they  never  neglected  the  care  and  the  exercise  of  the 
body. 


CHAPTER    IV. 

Diseases.    Injudicious  manner  of  treating  them.    Sudden  kinds  of 
death.     Propensity  to  self-murder. 

DREADFULLY,  has  this  host  of  the  secret  and  open 
enemies  of  life  increased  in  modern  times.  When  one 
reflects  how  little  a  savage  of  the  South  Sea  Islands 
knows  of  diseases,  and  then  takes  a  view  of  an  Euro- 
pean compendium  of  pathology,  where  they  are  mar- 
shalled by  regiments  and  companies,  and  where  their 
number  amounts  to  several  thousands,  one  cannot  help 
being  alarmed  to  find  that  so  much  is  possible  for  lux- 
ury, corruption  of  morals,  unnatural  modes  of  living, 
and  excesses.  Many,  nay,  the  greater  part  of  these 
diseases,  are  occasioned  by  our  own  fault ;  and  it  is 
equally  certain  that  new  ones  may  be  created  by  the 
like  conduct.  Others  came  into  the  world  no  one 
knows  when  or  how,  and  were  altogether  strangers  to 
the  ancients.  These  are  the  most  inveterate  and  de- 
structive ;  the  smallpox,  the  measles,  and  scarlet  fever : 
and  these  even  are  so  far  owing  to  ourselves,  that  we 
suffer  them  to  spread  and  exercise  their  ravages,  with- 
out forming  any  regulations  to  check  them ;  though  it  is 
proved  that,  by  a  proper  exercise  of  reason,  with  the 
help  of  those  observations  that  have  been  collected,  we 
might  banish  them  from  our  boundaries,  in  the  same 
manner  as  they  were  introduced. 
12 


178  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

The  greater  part  of  diseases  act  either  as  violent 
kinds  of  death ;  the  means  of  suddenly  stopping  vital 
operation,  like  the  apoplexy  ;  or  as  the  means  of  short- 
ening it  gradually,  by  being  either  totally  incurable,  or, 
even  when  they  are  cured,  by  leaving  behind  them  such 
a  loss  of  the  vital  power,  or  such  weakness  and  derange- 
ment of  the  nobler  organs,  that  a  body  so  affected  can 
no  longer  attain  to  that  term  of  life  to  which  it  was 
originally  destined. 

The  following  short  view,  collected  from  different 
bills  of  mortality,  will  show,  in  the  clearest  manner, 
how  monstrous  that  lo£s  is  which  mankind  sustain  at 
present  by  disease.  Of  a  thousand  persons  who  are 
born,  24  die  at  their  very  birth ;  teething  carries  off 
50  ;  convulsions  and  other  diseases  during  the  two  first 
years,  277;  the  smallpox,  which,  as  is  well  known, 
destroys  one  in  ten,  carries  off  80  or  90  ;  and  the  mea- 
sles 10.  If  they  are  females,  8  die  in  childbed.  The 
asthma,  consumption,  and  disorders  of  the  chest,  at  least 
in  England,  destroy  190 ;  violent  fevers,  150 ;  apo- 
plexy, 12,  and  the  dropsy,  41.  Of  a  thousand  persons 
also,  we  can  allow  only  78  who  die  of  old  age,  or  rather 
at  an  advanced  period  of  life  ;  for  the  greater  part  of 
these  will  fall  a  sacrifice  to  accidental  affections.  In 
short,  it  hence  appears,  that  nine-tenths  of  mankind 
die  always  prematurely,  and  by  the  effects  of  disease. 

I  must  here  mention  also  a  new  and  detestable  dis- 
order, which  tends  to  the  immediate  destruction  of  life, 
I  mean  a  propensity  to  self-murder.  This  unnatural 
passion,  which  prevailed  formerly  through  direful  ne- 
cessity and  heroic  resolution,  has  now  become  a  disease, 
which,  in  the  bloom  of  youth,  amidst  the  most  favorable 


MANAGEMENT    OF    DISEASES.  179 

circumstances,  merely  by  disgust  and  satiety  of  life,  can 
excite  the  most  horrid  and  irresistible  desire  to  deprive 
one's  self  of  existence.*  There  are,  indeed,  men  in 
whom  every  source  of  vital  sensation  and  vital  enjoy- 
ment is  so  exhausted,  in  whom  every  germ  of  activity 
and  happiness  is  so  deadened,  that  they  find  nothing  so 
insipid,  so  disagreeable,  and  so  disgustful  as  life ;  that 
they  have  no  longer  any  points  of  contact  with  the 
world  which  surrounds  them ;  and  that  life,  at  last, 
becomes  to  them  such  an  oppressive  burden,  that  they 
cannot  withstand  the  desire  of  getting  rid  of  it.  And 
these  men,  for  the  most  part,  are  such  as,  by  youthful 
dissipation,  and  too  early  a  wasting  of  the  powers  and 
vigor  which  ought  to  be  the  seasoning  of  life,  have 
exhausted  themselves,  and  become  incapable  of  relish- 
ing its  enjoyments.  Is  it  not  natural  that  such  unfor- 
tunate beings  should  prefer  death  without  all  sensation, 
to  a  living  death  which  their  life  may  undoubtedly  be 
called  ? 

But  the  mischiefs  of  these  already  too  numerous  and 
dangerous  enemies  are  infinitely  increased,  because 
people  in  part  treat  them  very  improperly,  and  in  gen- 
eral abuse  medicine  too  much. 

Among  those  improprieties  which  regard  the  treat- 
ment of  diseases,  I  reckon  the  following :  —  "When  peo- 
ple, notwithstanding  every  proof  of  their  mischief,  suffer 
the  causes  of  disease  to  remain  in  activity :  when  one, 
for  example,  evidently  observes,  that  drinking  wine,  the 
use  of  too  light  clothing,  or  sitting  up  late  at  night, 

*  In  seventy-five  years,  twice  as  many  people  in  London  fall 
a  sacrifice  to  suicide  as  to  the  ple'urisy. 


180  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

brings  on  disease,  and  yet  continues  these  practices ; 
also,  when  one  totally  mistakes  the  disease,  or  will  not 
allow  that  any  exists,  by  which  means  a  very  trifling 
indisposition  may  be  converted  into  a  serious  malady. 
And  here  I  cannot  help  particularly  mentioning  a  neg- 
ligence to  which  the  lives  of  thousands  are  undoubtedly 
sacrificed  ;  I  mean  neglecting  a  catarrh  or  cough. 
People  in  general  consider  this  as  a  necessary,  and,  in 
part,  useful  evil ;  and  in  that  respect  they  are  right,  if 
the  catarrh  be  moderate,  and  do  not  continue  too  long. 
But  one  ought  never  to  forget  that  every  catarrh  is  a 
disease,  and  may  readily  end  in  an  inflammation  of  the 
lungs,  or,  what  is  more  frequently  the  case,  in  an 
asthma  or  consumption  ;  and  I  do  not  say  too  much  when 
I  assert,  that  one-half  of  all  the  asthmas  arise  from  ca- 
tarrhs which  have  been  thus  neglected.  Such  mischief 
follows  when  they  continue  too  long,  or  have  been  im- 
properly treated ;  and  I  therefore  recommend  the  two 
following  rules,  which  ought  to  be  sacredly  observed  by 
every  one  who  is  attacked  by  a  catarrh  of  the  chest. 
One  must  not  overlook  a  catarrh  cough  more  than  a 
fortnight ;  if  it  continue  longer,  it  must  be  considered  as 
a  disease,  and  be  treated  by  a  physician.  Secondly, 
during  the  time  every  catarrh  lasts,  one  must  guard 
against  violent  heating  of  the  body,  cold,  and  the  use  of 
spices,  wine,  and  other  spirituous  liquors. 

It  is  also  a  too  common  mode  of  improperly  treating 
diseases,  that  people  often,  partly  from  ignorance  or 
prejudice,  and  partly  through  mistaken  tenderness,  do 
exactly  the  contrary  of  what  ought  properly  to  be  done. 
Of  this  kind  are,  when  people  oblige  the  patient  to  eat, 


FREQUENCY    OF   VIOLENT    DEATH.  181 

though  he  has  no  appetite  ;  when,  during  feverish  dis- 
orders he  is  suffered  to  use  beer,  wine,  coffee,  meat- 
soups,  and  other  rich  and  nourishing  things,  by  which 
the  slightest  degree  of  fever  may  be  changed  into  the 
most  violent ;  when  people,  on  the  patient's  complaining 
of  a  fever,  and  that  cold  which  is  connected  with  it, 
bury  him  immediately  under  bed-clothes,  shut  up  the 
doors  and  the  windows,  and  heat  the  air  of  the  apart- 
ment as  much  as  possible  ;  and  when  they  do  not  pay 
sufficient  attention  to  cleanliness  and  ventilation.  This 
injudicious  treatment  destroys  more  of  mankind  than 
disease  itself;  and  is  principally  the  cause  why,  in  the 
country,  so  many  strong  sound  men  fall  a  sacrifice  to 
death ;  why  diseases  there  so  readily  assume  a  malig- 
nant quality ;  why,  for  example,  the  smallpox  is  more 
destructive  there  in  winter  than  in  summer,  because 
people  shut  the  doors  and  windows,  and,  by  artificial 
means,  keep  up  in  the  patient's  bed-chamber  a  heat 
equally  great  perhaps  as  that  which  prevails  during  the 
summer. 

And  lastly,  I  reckon  among  these  improprieties,  when 
one  consults  no  physician,  or  consults  one  that  is  unskil- 
ful, uses  medicine  injudiciously,  has  recourse  to  quacks, 
and  employs  secret  means,  universal  remedies,  etc.,  of 
which  I  shall  treat  more  at  length  when  I  come  to  the 
rational  use  of  medicine. 

The  violent  kinds  of  death  also  sweep  off  an  immense 
number  of  mankind ;  and  these,  in  modern  times,  have 
unfortunately  made  great  progress.  Not  only  have  a 
more  enlarged  spirit  of  enterprise,  the  greater  frequency 
of  sea-voyages,  and  more  extensive  trade,  multiplied 
such  accidents ;  but  people  have  fallen  upon  inventions 


182  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

for  accomplishing  the  object  of  shortening  life  in  an 
incredibly  quick  and  refined  manner.  I  shall  here 
mention  only  gunpowder,  and  several  new  sorts  of  poison, 
such  as  Aqua  Toffana,  Succession  Powder,  etc.  Nay, 
the  art  of  killing  has  now  become  a  peculiar  and  ex- 
alted science. 


CHAPTER  V. 

Impure  air.    Men  living  together  in  large  cities. 

ONE  of  the  greatest  means  of  shortening  human  life 
is,  men  living  together  in  great  cities.  Dreadful  is  the 
preponderance  which  the  ravage  thence  occasioned  has 
in  the  bills  of  mortality.  In  Vienna,  Berlin,  Paris, 
and  London,  the  twentieth  or  twenty-third  person  dies 
annually ;  while  in  the  country  around  them,  the  pro- 
portion is  only  one  in  thirty  or  forty.  Rousseau  is  per- 
fectly right  when  he  says  that  men,  of  all  animals,  are 
the  least  formed  for  living  together  in  great  multitudes. 
The  breath  of  a  man  is  deadly  for  his  fellow-creature ; 
and  this  is  the  case  both  in  a  proper  as  well  as  a  figu- 
rative sense.  The  moisture,  or,  as  it  is  commonly 
called,  the  thickness  of  the  air,  is  not  what  alone  makes 
it  prejudicial,  but  the  animalization  which  it  acquires 
by  so  many  people  being  crowded  together.  We  can 
at  most  breathe  the  same  air  only  four  times ;  for  it  is 
then,  from  the  finest  support  of  life,  converted  by  our- 
selves into  the  most  deadly  poison.  Let  one  now  only 
reflect  on  the  atmosphere  of  such  monstrous  places, 
where  it  is  impossible  for  an  inhabitant  to  inspire  a 
mouthful  of  air  that  has  not  been  for  some  time  already 
in  the  lungs  of  another.  This  produces  a  general  secret 
poisoning,  which,  upon  the  whole,  must  necessarily 
shorten  the  duration  of  life.  Those  men  who  are  able, 


184  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

ought  to  avoid  living  in  great  cities :  they  are  open 
sepulchres  for  mankind  ;  and  not  only  in  a  physical,  but 
in  a  moral  point  of  view.  Even  in  cities  of  moderate 
size,  where  perhaps  the  streets  are  somewhat  narrow, 
people  should  prefer  a  residence  in  the  suburbs ;  and  it 
is  at  least  their  duty  to  quit  the  city  atmosphere  for  an 
hour  or  half  an  hour  every  day,  merely  in  order  that 
they  may  inspire  a  little  fresh  air. 


CHAPTER   VI. 

Intemperance  in  eating  and  drinking.    Refined  Cookery.     Spirituous 
liquors. 

THE  first  thing  which,  in  regard  to  diet,  can  act 
as  a  shortener  of  life,  is  immoderation.  Eating  and 
drinking  too  much  is  prejudicial  to  life  two  ways.  It 
overstrains  the  powers  of  digestion,  and  thereby 
weakens  them.  It  prevents  digestion,  because  with 
such  a  quantity  the  whole  cannot  be  properly  prepared; 
arid  crudities*in  the  intestines,  and  bad  juices  are  tl»e 
consequence.  It  increases  also  proportionably  the 
quantity  of  the  blood,  and  thereby  accelerates  circula- 
tion and  life ;  and  besides,  it  gives  rise  to  indigestion, 
and  the  necessity  of  using  evucuants,  which  always 
weaken. 

To  eat  too  much,  means  when  people  eat  till  they 
can  eat  no  longer;  and  the  following  are  the  signs:  — 
When  one  experiences  a  heaviness  and  fulness  of  the 
stomach,  yawning,  eructation,  drowsiness,  and  confusion 
in  the  head.  The  old  rule,  which  contains  much  truth, 
ought  therefore  to  be  always  observed  :  Give  over  eat- 
ing while  you  have  still  some  appetite  left. 

Too  refined  cookery  belongs  to  the  same  class.  Un- 
fortunately I  must  here  exclaim  against  this  friend  of 
our  palate,  as  one  of  the  greatest  enemies  of  life;  as 
one  of  the  most  destructive  inventions  for  shortening  it, 
and  in  the  following  mariner:  — 


186  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

1st.  It  is  well  known  that  the  principal  part  of  this 
art  consists  in  making  every  thing  piquant  and  stimula- 
ting. Every  article  of  food,  therefore,  is  half  com- 
posed, according  to  this  preparation,  of  hot,  stimulating 
substances;  and  instead  of  accomplishing,  by  eating, 
what  is  the  natural  object  of  it,  nourishment  and  resto- 
ration, we  increase  rather,  by  irritation,  internal  con- 
sumption, and  actually  produce  the  contrary.  After  a 
meal  of  this  kind  one  has  always  an  artificial  fever;  and 
those  who  use  such  food  may  justly  say,  consumendo 
consumimur.* 

2nd.  The  worst  is,  that  people,  by  this  cookery,  are 
always  induced  to  eat  too  much.  They  become  such 
friends  to  their  palate,  that  every  remonstrance  of  the 
stomach  is  ineffectual;  and  as  the  palate  is  always 
tickled  in  a  new  and  agreeable  manner,  the  stomach 
has  thrice  or  four  times  as  much  labor  as  it  is  capable 
of  performing.  For  it  is  a  very  common  fault,  that  one 
does  not  make  a  distinction  between  the  appetite  of  the 
palate  and  that  of  the  stomach  ;  but  considers  that  as  a 
real,  which  is  only  a  false,  appetite ;  and  this  error  is 
by  nothing  favored  so  much  as  refined  cookery.  Man 
thereby  loses,  at  length,  one  of  the  greatest  supports 
of  life,  the  property  of  knowing  when  he  has  had 
enough. 

3rd.  One  grand  maxim  in  this  cookery  is,  by  the 
most  unnatural  and  most  variegated  compositions,  to 
produce  new  stimulants,  and  new  dishes.  And  hence 
it  happens  that  things  which  singly  and  alone  were  per- 
fectly harmless  and  innocent,  acquire,  by  combination, 
properties  altogether  new  and  destructive.  Acids  and 

*  In  consuming  we  are  ourselves  consumed.  —  EDITOR. 


INTEMPERANCE   IN    EATING.  187 

sweet  substances,  for  example,  do  not  hurt  when  used 
separately ;  but  when  used  together,  they  may  become 
prejudicial.  Eggs,  milk,  butter,  and  flour,  are  each, 
used  by  itself,  very  easy  of  digestion  ;  but  when  joined 
together,  and  formed  into  a  fat  solid  pudding,  the  produce 
will  be  extremely  heavy  and  indigestible.  It  may, 
therefore,  be  laid  down  as  a  fundamental  principle,  that 
the  more  compounded  any  kind  of  food  is,  the  more 
difficult  it  will  be  of  digestion ;  and  what  is  still  worse, 
the  more  corrupt  will  be  the  juices  which  are  prepared 
from  it. 

4th.  A  grand  acquisition  in  the  newest  mode  of 
cookery  is  the  art  of  bringing  nourishing  juices  into 
the  body  in  the  most  concentrated  form.  Hence  we 
have  consommes  jus,  coulus,  and  many  other  things  of 
the  like  kind.  By  expression  and  boiling,  people  have 
found  means  to  concentrate  the  substance  of  several 
pounds  of  beef,  capon,  and  marrow-bones,  into  the  small 
size  of  a  jelly  or  soup;  and  they  imagine  they  have 
accomplished  something  great  when  they  send  such  an 
essence  of  nourishment  immediately,  and  at  once,  into 
the  blood,  without  exposing  the  teeth  to  the  trouble  of 
chewing,  or  the  stomach  to  the  labor  of  digesting.  That 
is  to  say,  people  imagine  they  can  restore  themselves 
full  gallop  ;  and  this  is  the  favorite  system  of  those  who 
consume  themselves  in  that  manner.  But  these  people 
are  miserably  deceived ;  for, 

In  the  first  place,  one  can  never  deviate  from  the 
regulations  of  Nature  without  injury.  Not  without 
reason  has  it  been  made  a  law,  that  the  stomach  can 
receive  only  a  certain  quantity ;  a  degree  more  would 
be  too  much  for  the  whole.  Everybody  can  admit  only 


188  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

a  proportionable  quantity  of  nourishment;  and  this 
capacity  of  the  whole  is  always  in  direct  ratio  with  the 
stomach.  Man  here  defrauds  Nature :  he  goes  beyond 
the  first  principle,  if!  may  say  so;  and  smuggles,  as  it 
were,  into  the  body,  thrice  or  four  times  as  much  nour- 
ishment as  it  is  capable  of  receiving.  The  consequence 
is,  a  continual  plethora  of  all  the  vessels ;  and  this 
always  destroys  the  equilibrium  as  well  as  the  health, 
and,  in  the  end,  life  itself. 

Secondly,  it  has  been  established  by  Nature,  on 
grounds  equally  good,  that  our  nourishment  should  be 
used  in  a  form  rather  coarse.  The  advantage  of  this 
law  is,  that  our  food  is  first  chewed  in  the  mouth, 
macerated,  and  mixed  with  saliva:  in  the  next  place, 
that  it  is  longer  retained  in  the.  stomach,  in  order,  by  its 
stimulating  quality,  to  incite  the  stomach  to  more  reac- 
tion :  consequently  it  is  much  better  assimilated  and 
changed  into  the  nature  of  our  substance.  On  this 
properly  depends  real  restoration;  for  nourishment  can 
pass  into  our  bodies,  and  become  truly  useful  to  us,  only 
after  it  has  been,  by  the  powers  of  the  stomach,  ren- 
dered homogeneous  and  similar  to  our  substance. 

By  trangressing  this  first  principle,  one  creates  in  the 
body  juices,  which,  because  they  have  not  been  suf- 
ficiently assimilated,  are  unable  to  effect  proper  restora- 
tion; which,  as  foreign  particles,  tend  rather  to  irritate; 
and  thus  promote  consumption,  much  more  than  resto- 
ration. 

In  my  opinion,  therefore,  it  is  highly  proper  that  an 
art  which  prevents  restoration,  which  fills  us  with  raw 
undigested  juices,  and  which  increases  internal  con- 
sumption, should  be  considered,  not  as  a  friend  of  our 


SPIRITUOUS     LIQUORS.  189 

life,  but  as  one  of  its  most  essential  enemies.  One  might 
almost  imagine  that  it  was  invented  to  convert  one  of 
the  noblest  gifts  of  God  into  a  secret  poison. 

Lastly,  we  may  place  in  this  class,  of  things  that  tend 
in  a  particular  manner  to  shorten  life,  all  preparations 
of  spirituous  liquors,  which,  under  whatever  name 
known,  are,  in  •  that  respect,  highly  prejudicial.  "When 
people  drink  these,  they  drink  liquid  fire.  They  accele- 
rate vital  consumption  in  a  dreadful  manner  ;  and  make 
life,  in  the  properest  sense,  a  process  of  burning. 


CHAPTER  VII. 

Passions  and  dispositions  of  mind  which  shorten  life.    Peevishness. 
Too  much  occupation  and  business. 

CERTAIN  habits  and  dispositions  of  mind,  such  as 
melancholy,  care,  dejection,  fear,  anxiety,  faint-hearted- 
ness,  and,  in  particular,  avarice  and  hatred,  which  are 
hostile  to  life,  claim  a  distinguished  rank  among  those 
means  which  tend  to  shorten  it. 

All  these  exhaust  the  finest  of  the  vital  powers ;  de- 
stroy, in  particular,  digestion  and  assimilation  ;  weaken 
the  vigor  of  the  heart ;  and,  by  these  means,  impede 
the  important  business  of  restoration.  The  first  or  mel- 
ancholy affections  act,  however,  negatively  in  shorten- 
ing life.  On  the  other  hand,  those  of  avarice  and  hatred 
have,  as  it  were,  a  positive  property  of  bringing  on 
death.  They  not  only  deprive  the  body  of  its  vital 
powers,  but,  as  they  incessantly  sharpen  the  bile,  they 
are  continually  preparing  a  secret  poison ;  and  by  the 
general  irritation  of  the  bile,  increase,  in  an  extraordi- 
nary degree,  self-consumption.  That  motto,  therefore, 
is  highly  proper  :  Avarice  consumes  itself. 

To  these  belongs  that  malignant  disposition  of  mind 
known  by  the  name  of  peevishness.  Nothing  can  so 
much  blast  the  bloom  of  life,  shut  up  every  access  to 
pleasure  and  enjoyment,  and  change  the  beautiful  stream 
of  life  into  a  stagnated  puddle,  as  this  disagreeable  habit. 


PEEVISHNESS.       FEAK.  191 

I  advise  every  one  who  regards  his  life  to  fly  from  this 
deadly  poison,  and  never  to  suffer  it  even  to  approach. 

Fear,  also,  deserves  here  a  particular  place.  It  be- 
longs, in  like  manner,  to  those  bad  habits  of  mind  which 
one  can  harbor  or  banish  at  pleasure. 

Walter,  an  Englishman,  who  sailed  round  the  world 
with  Anson,  was  conversing  one  day  with  young  Berk- 
enhout ;  and  as  the  latter  happened  to  mention  the 
word  Fear,  Walter,  with  some  emotion,  replied,  Fear  is 
a  base  passion,  beneath  the  dignity  of  man.  And,  with- 
out doubt,  it  is  one  of  the  most  absurd  :  a  passion  which 
debases  and  degrades  man,  as  much  as  its  opposite 
passion,  courage,  can  exalt  and  elevate  him  above 
human  nature.  Fear  robs  him  of  power,  reflection, 
judgment,  resolution  ;  in  a  word,  of  all  that  preemi- 
nence which  the  human  mind  enjoys  ;  and,  to  accustom 
children  not  to  fear,  ought  to  be  one  of  the  first  prin- 
ciples of  education.  But,  unfortunately,  the  direct  con- 
trary is  the  case.  I  shall  here  enlarge  on  two  only  of 
the  most  usual  kinds  of  fear :  fear  of  thunder,  and  fear 
of  apparitions  or  spirits.  Now  he  who  is  subject  to 
both  these  may  bid  farewell  to  happiness  and  tranquil- 
lity. The  period  of  night,  which  by  its  obscurity  is  so 
wisely  destined  for  sweet  repose,  is  to  him  the  signal 
of  the  most  painful  uneasiness.  While  others  enjoy 
peaceful  sleep,  he  listens  with  trembling  and  dismay  to 
the  smallest  sound ;  the  sweat  of  horror  bursts  forth 
from  every  pore  of  his  body ;  and  he  is  more  fatigued 
in  the  morning,  than  at  the  moment  when  he  lay  down. 

The  joyful  season  of  summer  is  to  him  also  a  period 
of  terror  and  dread  ;  and  every  fine  day  brings  with  it 
the  idea  of  thunder,  and  the  apprehension  of  danger. 

One  may  easily  comprehend  what  destructive  influ- 


192  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

ence  such  continual  misery  must  have  on  the  duration 
of  life.  Fear  is  an  incessant  cramp  ;  it  contracts  all 
the  smaller  vessels ;  the  whole  skin  grows  cold,  and 
perspiration  is  completely  checked.  The  blood  is  col- 
lected in  the  interior  large  vessels  ;  pulsation  becomes 
irregular ;  the  heart  is  overcharged,  and  cannot  move 
with  freedom.  The  important  business  of  circulation  is 
therefore  deranged.  Digestion  is  also  interrupted,  and 
crampish  affections  take  place.  All  the  muscular  power 
is  palsied ;  the  sufferer  attempts  to  run,  but  is  not  able ; 
he  is  seized  with  a  general  shivering  ;  he  breathes  short, 
and  with  difficulty ;  in  a  word,  fear  has  all  those  effects 
which  are  produced  by  a  mortal  secret  poison,  and  its 
consequences  are  equally  pernicious  in  shortening  life. 

It  is  impossible  for  me  to  omit  here  a  characteristic 
of  modern  times,  which  certainly  deprives  us  of  a  valu- 
able part  of  our  life  :  namely,  that  unfortunate  spirit  of 
restless  enterprise  (polypraymosine),  which  at  present 
subdues  a  great  part  of  the  human  race ;  an  incessant 
fickleness,  and  propensity  to  new  undertakings,  new 
labors,  and  new  plans.  The  genius  of  our  age  seems 
to  incline  men,  much  more  than  is  natural  for  them,  to 
reflection,  activity,  speculations,  and  reformation  of 
every  kind ;  and  to  exercise  with  more  vigor  all  the 
powers  which  they  possess  :  for  the  great  increase  of 
luxury,  by  still  multiplying  its  wants,  makes  new  schemes 
and  new  exertions  of  the  faculties  always  more  neces- 
sary. Hence  arises  that  endless  uneasiness  which  de- 
stroys all  sensation  of  internal  tranquillity  and  con- 
tentment ;  which  never  suffers  men  to  enjoy  that  degree 
of  peace  and  relaxation  indispensably  requisite  for  re- 
storing them  ;  and  which,  consequently,  in  an  alarming 
manner,  accelerates  consumption. 


CHAPTEE    VIII. 

The  fear  of  death. 

No  kind  of  fear  is  attended  with  more  unhappiness" 
than  the  fear  of  death.  He  who  is  subject  to  it  dreads 
something  which  is  totally  unavoidable,  and  against 
which  we  can  never  be  a  moment  secure.  He  enjoys 
pleasure  with  trembling  and  anxiety  ;  he  denies  himself 
every  thing,  because  every  thing  may  be  the  vehicle  of 
death ;  and  by  this  everlasting  apprehension  of  losing 
life,  he  loses  it  in  reality.  No  one  who  feared  death 
ever  attained  to  a  great  age. 

Love  life,  and  fear  not  death  !  is  a  command  and  a 
prophecy,  the  only  true  frame  of  mind  to  become  happy 
and  old  ;  for,  whoever  fears  death  may  bid  farewell  to1 
happiness.  To  him  no  enjoyment  is  pure  ;  every  plea- 
sure is  poisoned  with  the  idea  of  death  ;  he  is  always 
like  a  malefactor  pursued ;  the  enemy  is  continually  at 
his  heels ;  and  yet  there  are  an  immense  number  of 
people  who  are  not  able  to  banish  from  them  this 
disease  of  the  mind.  For  the  benefit  of  these  I  shall 
here  lay  down  some  rules,  which,  though  they  may  not 
display  much  metaphysical  acuteness,  I  can  recom- 
mend as  good  preservatives  against  the  fear  of  death ; 
and  which  I  know  by  experience,  to  have  been  effec- 
tual: 

1st.  Let  a  man  make  himself  very  familiar  with  the 
13 


194  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

idea  of  death.  He  alone,  in  my  opinion,  is  happy,  who 
has  so  often,  and  in  so  undaunted  a  manner,  looked  this 
unavoidable  enemy  in  the  face,  that  by  long  custom,  it 
has  at  length  become  to  him  a  matter  of  indifference. 
How  much  do  those  deceive  themselves  who  imagine 
they  have  found,  in  banishing  the  thoughts  of  death, 
the  best  remedy  for  the  fear  of  it.  Before  they  are 
aware,  amidst  the  most  lively  enjoyment  will  the  idea 
rush  upon  them,  and  derange  them  the  more,  the  less 
they  are  acquainted  with  it.  In  a  word,  I  can  call 
those  alone  fortunate  who  have  carried  this  custom  so 
far,  that  in  the  moment  of  joy  they  can  think  of  death 
-without  being  depressed  ;  and  my  readers  may  believe 
me,  for  1  assert  it  on  my  own  experience,  that,  by  often 
dwelling  upon  this  idea,  and  moderating  its  appearances, 
we  shall  at  length  acquire  a  wonderful  indifference  re- 
specting it.  Let  us  only  turn  our  attention  to  soldiers, 
sailors,  and  miners.  Where  shall  we  find  men  more 
contented  and  happy,  more  susceptible  of  every  joy  ? 
And  for  what  reason  ?  Because,  by  their  continual 
approach  to  death,  they  have  learned  to  despise  it.  He 
who  no  longer  fears  death  is  alone  free ;  there  is  no- 
thing else  that  can  fetter  his  senses,  disturb  him,  or 
render  him  unhappy.  His  soul  is  filled  with  exalted 
and  undaunted  courage,  which  strengthens  the  vital 
power,  and  which  is  therefore  a  positive  means  of  re- 
moving this  fear. 

This  custom  is  attended  also  with  some  concomitant 
'circumstances  which  are  undoubtedly  of  no  little  im- 
portance. It  is  an  excellent  help  to  enable  one  to 
^continue  honest  and  virtuous.  On  every  occasion  of 
-doubt,  when  the  question  arises  whether  an  action  be 


FEAR    OP   DEATH.  195 

right  or  wrong,  let  a  man  think  only  on  the  last  hour 
of  his  life,  and  ask  himself,  Wouldst  thou  then  do  so  ; 
wilt  thou  then  wish  to  have  acted  so  ?  Innocence  is 
certainly  that  happy  state,  that  enjoyment  of  life,  which 
can  enable  a  man  to  think  on  death  without  terror.  If 
a  man  harbor  enmity  or  revenge  against  another,  if  he 
entertain  a  wish  of  avenging  an  injury  done  to  him,  let 
him  only  reflect  on  that  hour,  and  on  the  state  in  which 
hfs  thoughts  will  then  be,  and  I  engage  that  his  ideas 
of  enmity  and  revenge  will  immediately  forsake  him. 
The  reason  is,  that,  by  thus  changing  the  theatre  of  ac- 
tion, all  those  little  selfish  objects  by  which  we  are  usu- 
ally gaided  are  removed  ;  every  thing  at  once  appears 
in  its  proper  point  of  view,  under  its  just  proportion ; 
the  deception  vanishes,  and  nothing  remains  but  what 
is  real.* 

*  Allied  with  the  fear  of  death  is  the  foolish  objection  which 
some  people  have  to  making  their  wills,  and  doing  that  which 
none  others  can  do  so  well  as  themselves,  —  namely,  arranging 
their  affairs.  Indeed  I  have  known  some  so  irrational  as  to  en- 
tertain alarm  at  the  insurance  of  their  lives ;  as  though  the 
thought  on  death  could  hasten  its  approach.  The  duty  of  mak- 
ing a  will  is  one  which  ought  to  be  performed  by  every  person, 
the  moment  he  arrives  at  man's  or  woman's  estate,  and  the  neg- 
lect of  that  duty  I  regard  as  a  dangerous  sin.  The  great  Locke, 
in  a  letter  to  Lord  King,  has  these  memorable  reflections  on 
making  his  will :  —  "I  shall  not  die  the  sooner  for  having  cast 
up  my  reckoning,  and,  judging  as  impartially  of  my  state  as  I 
can,  I  hope  I  shall  not  live  one  jot  the  less  cheerfully  the  time 
that  I  am  here,  nor  neglect  any  of  the  offices  of  life  whilst  I 
have  it ;  for  whether  it  be  a  month,  or  a  year,  or  seven  years 
longer  —  the  longest  any  one  out  of  kindness  or  compliment  can 
propose  to  me  —  is  so  near  nothing  when  considered  and  in  re- 
spect of  eternity,  that  if  the  sight  of  death  can  put  an  end  to 


196  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

2d.  Many  fear  death  much  less  than  the  operation 
of  dying.  People  here  form  the  most  singular  concep- 
tion of  the  last  struggle,  the  separation  of  the  soul  from 
the  body?>  and  the  like.  But  this  is  all  void  of  founda- 
tion. No  man  certainly  ever  felt  what  death  is  ;  and 
as  insensibly  as  we  enter  into  life,  equally  insensibly 
do  we  leave  it.  The  beginning  and  the  end  are  here 
united.  My  proofs  are  as  follows :  First,  man  can 
have  no  sensation  of  dying ;  for  to  die,  means  nothiiTg 
more  that  to  lose  the  vital  power ;  and  it  is  the  vital 
power  by  which  the  soul  communicates  sensation  to  the 
body.  In  proportion  as  the  vital  power  decreases,  we 
lose  the  power  of  sensation,  and  of  consciousness*;  and 
we  cannot  lose  life,  without  at  the  same  time,  or  rather 
before,  losing  our  vital  sensation,  which  requires  the 
assistance  of  the  tenderest  organs.  We  are  taught  also 
by  experience,  that  all  those  who  ever  passed  through 
the  first  stage  of  death,  and  were  again  brought  to 
life,  unanimously  asserted  that  they  felt  nothing  of  dy- 
ing, but  sunk  at  once  into  a  state  of  insensibility.  Let 
us  not  be  led  into  a  mistake  by  the  convulsive  throbs, 
the  rattling  in  the  throat,  and  the  apparent  pangs  of 
death,  which  are  observed  in  many  persons  when  in  a 
dying  state.  These  symptoms  are  painful  only  to  the 
spectators,  and  not  to  the  dying,  who  are  not  sensible  of 
them.  The  case  here  is  the  same  as  if  one,  from  the 
dreadful  contortions  of  a  person  in  an  epileptic  fit, 
should  form  a  conclusion  respecting  his  internal  feelings. 
From  what  affects  us  so  much,  he  suffers  nothing. 

the  comforts  of  life,  it  is  always  near  enough,  especially  to  one 
of  my  age,  to  have  no  satisfaction  in  living."  —  Lord  King's  Life 
of  Locke,  2d  edit.  p.  40.  — EDITOR. 


FEAR    OF    DEATH.  197 

3d.  Let  one  always  consider  life,  as  it  really  is,  a 
mean  state,  which  is  not  an  object  itself,  but  a  medium 
for  obtaining  an  object,  as  the  multifarious  imperfec- 
tions of  it  sufficiently  prove  ;  as  a  period  of  expansion 
and  preparation,  a  fragment  of  our  existence,  through 
which  we  are  to  be  fitted  for  and  transmitted  to  other 
periods.  Can  the  idea,  then,  of  really  making  this 
transition  ;  of  ascending  to  another  from  this  mean 
state,  this  doubtful  problematical  existence,  which  never 
affords  complete  satisfaction,  ever  excite  terror  ?  With 
courage  and  confidence  we  may,  therefore,  resign  our- 
selves to  the  will  of  that  Supreme  Being,  who,  without 
our  consent,  placed  us  upon  this  sublunary  theatre ;  and 
give  up  to  his  management  the  future  direction  of  our 
fate. 

4th.  Remembrance  of  the  past,  of  that  circle  of 
friends  who  were  nearest  and  always  will  be  dearest  to 
our  hearts,  and  who,  as  it  were,  now  smile  to  us  with  a 
friendly  look  of  invitation  from  that  country  of  dark- 
ness, will  tend  also  very  much  to  allay  the  fear  of  death. 


CHAPTER    IX. 

Idleness.    Inactivity.     Languor. 

BUT  an  opposite  conduct,  that  of  neglecting  to  exer- 
cise our  powers,  may  tend  also  to  shorten  life;  because, 
by  these  means,  the  organs  will  soon  become  unfit  for 
use  ;  and  derangement  of  them,  interrupted  purification 
of  the  juices,  and  bad  restoration  must  be  the  conse- 
quence. It  was  the  first  and  unalterable  destination  of 
man,  that  he  should  earn  his  bread  by  the  sweat  of  his 
brow.  And  this  principle  is  fully  confirmed,  in  a  physi- 
cal sense,  by  experience :  he  who  eats  without  labor 
will  never  thrive.  If  the  necessary  proportion  be  not 
preserved  between  restoration  and  self-consumption,  it 
is  impossible  to  retain  health  or  prolong  life.  If  we 
consult  observation,  we  shall  find  that  no  idler  ever  at- 
tained to  a  great  age,  and  that  those  who  have  been  dis- 
tinguished by  their  longevity  were  all  men  whose  lives 
had  been  extremely  active  and  laborious. 

But  mental  idleness  is  hurtful,  as  well  as  bodily;  and 
I  now  come  to  a  means  of  shortening  life,  which  per- 
haps my  readers  did  not  expect,  because  it  apparently 
makes  the  time  appear  to  us  so  long :  I  here  allude  to 
languor.  Let  us  examine  the  physical  effects  of  it  a 
little  closer,  and  we  shall  see  that  this  unpleasant  state 
of  mind  is  by  no  means  a  matter  of  indifference,  but 
that  it  is  attended  with  very  important  consequences  to 


IDLENESS.       INACTIVITY.      LANGUOR.  199 

the  condition  of  our  bodies.  What  do  we  remark  in  a 
man  who  is  subject  to  languor  ?  He  begins  to  yawn  ; 
this  already  betrays  that  the  passage  of  the  blood 
through  the  lungs  is  interrupted.  The  power  of  the 
heart  and  vessels  suffers  of  course,  and  becomes  too  tor- 
pid. If  the  evil  continue  longer,  accumulations  and 
stoppages  of  the  blood  take  place.  The  organs  of  di- 
gestion acquire  a  tendency  to  weakness ;  and  inactivity 
and  debility,  melancholy,  flatulency,  and  hypochondriac 
affections  ensue  :  in  a  word,  all  the  functions  are  thereby 
weakened  and  deranged ;  and  I  think  I  may  with  truth 
affirm,  that  a  state  which  disturbs  the  most  important 
operations  of  the  body,  and  which  enfeebles  the  noblest 
powers,  is  a  shortener  of  life  also. 

Languor,  in  a  physical  as  well  as  a  moral  view,  is  a 
state  of  danger.  Weikard  mentions  the  instance  of  a 
child  born  of  poor  parents,  who  were  obliged  to  earn 
their  bread  by  their  daily  labor.  The  state  of  this 
child,  from  its  birth,  was  therefore  languor.  At  first 
the  parents  suffered  it  to  lie  alone  in  its  cradle,  where 
it  spent  its  time  in  looking  at  its  hands  and  feet.  When 
it  became  bigger,  it  was  always  shut  up  in  a  hen-house, 
where  it  could  see  only  through  a  small  hole.  What 
was  the  consequence?  The  child,  when  it  grew  up, 
remained  heavy  and  stupid  ;  showed  no  signs  of  reason, 
and  could  scarcely  speak. 

Nay,  it  is  attended  with  effects  still  more  destructive. 
With  a  melancholy  temperament,  languor  may  at  length 
conduct  one  to  self-rnurder.  A  dull  English  author, 
who  has  written  a  voluminous  work  on  suicide,  relates, 
that  he  one  day  met  one  of  his  countrymen  who  exhibit- 
ed every  appearance  of  deep  thought.  "  Whither  art 


200  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

thou  going,  my  friend  ?  "  said  the  author.  "  To  the 
Thames,  to  drown  myself."  "  I  beg  of  yon,"  replied 
the  author,  "  to  return  home  for  this  time,  and  to  read 
over  my  work  on  suicide."  "  God  forbid  !  "  answered 
the  other.  "  It  was  reading  that  cursed,  tedious  book, 
which  excited  in  me  such  a  dreadful  disgust  of  life  that 
I  am  now  firmly  resolved  to  drown  myself." 

But  I  think  I  hear  every  one  ask,  What  in  the  world 
is  the  best  remedy  for  languor  ?  It  accompanies  us  to 
the  ball,  to  the  play-house,  to  the  tea-table,  in  our  walks  ; 
in  short,  it  is  impossible  for  us  to  get  rid  of  it!  What 
you  say  is  perfectly  true,  but  it  does  not  relieve  us. 
There  is  only  one,  but  not  a  very  agreeable  remedy  for 
it,  and  that  is  regular  employment. 


CHAPTER    X. 

Overstrained  power  of  the  imagination.    Imaginary  diseases. 
Sensibility. 

IMAGINATION  was  given  us  as  the  seasoning  of  life ; 
but  as  physical  seasoning  must  not  be  made  our  daily 
nourishment,  our  mental  life,  in  the  like  manner,  must 
not  abuse  this  seasoning  of  the  soul.  Too  much  of  it 
will,  indeed,  exalt  vital  sensation  ;  but  one  thereby  in- 
creases intensive  life  together  with  consumption,  and 
prevents  restoration,  as  is  proved  by  the  meagreness  of* 
such  people  as  have  fervid  imaginations.  Besides  one, 
by  these  means,  disposes  the  body  to  sudden  as  well  as 
violent  revolutions,  which  may  become  dangerous  to 
life,  because,  with  an  overstretched  imagination,  it  is 
possible  for  a  small  spark  to  produce  a  most  dreadful 
explosion.  He,  therefore,  who  wishes  to  live  long, 
must  never  suffer  this  power  of  the  soul  to  assume  a 
superiority,  or  to  occasion  a  continued  state  of  exalta- 
tion ;  he  will  apply  it  to  that  purpose  for  which  it  was 
bestowed  upon  us,  to  give  a  higher  lustre  to  the  agree- 
able moments  of  life,  to  season  the  unfortunate  or  insipid, 
and  to  enliven  the  melancholy. 

This  faculty  may  be  highly  prejudicial  to  life,  when 
it  acquires  certain  tendencies,  which,  by  their  collateral 
effects,  produce  double  mischief;  and  of  these,  two  ap- 


202  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

pear  to  me  to  be  particularly  dangerous,  a  propensity 
to  imagine  diseases  and  too  great  sensibility. 

The  first  disease  of  the  imagination  is  principally  pe- 
culiar to  hypochondriacs ;  but  may  be  excited  in  those 
who  are  not  physicians,  if  they  read  works  on  medicine, 
which  they  do  not,  like  professional  men,  apply  to  the 
art,  but  to  their  own  persons ;  and  who,  for  want  of 
sufficient  knowledge,  conjecture  often  very  erroneously. 
Of  this  I  have  seen  astonishing  instances.  Not  only 
people  who,  with  features  perfectly  regular,  supposed 
that  their  noses  stood  awry ;  and  who,  though  slender 
and  sound  in  every  respect,  could  not  get  rid  of  the  idea 
that  they  were  in  the  last  stage  of  the  dropsy,  but  I 
have  seen  a  lady  who,  if  asked  whether  she  had  not 
this  or  the  other  local  disorder,  felt  in  a  mom'ent  every 
'symptom  of  it.  Having  asked  her  if  she  had  not  the 
headache,  she  was  instantly  seized  with  it;  and  on 
asking,  in  the  like  manner,  respecting  the  cramp  in  the 
arm,  and  the  hiccup,  both  these  affections  immediately 
took  place. 

Tulpius  mentions  the  instance  of  a  man  who,  by  read- 
ing a  great  number  of  medical  and  chirurgical  books, 
became  quite  frantic. 

Monro  saw  a  man,  who,  by  studying  medicine  under 
Boerhaave,  had  become  hypochondriacs!.  Whenever 
he  attended  any  of  Boerhaave's  lectures,  he  always 
imagined  that  he  was  affected  with  the  disease  which 
had  been  the  subject  of  it.  By  these  means  he  was  a 
continual  living  commentary  on  the  science  of  physic  ; 
but  he  had  scarcely  gone  half  through  this  destructive 
course  of  medicine,  when  he  found  himself  so  wretched 
and  exhausted  that  he  was  obliged  to  give  up  the  study 
altogether.  Nay,  we  have  had  the  instance  of  a  per- 


EXTREME    SENSIBILITY.  203 

son  who  imagined  himself  to  be  actually  dead,  and 
who,  therefore,  would  have  been  starved,  had  not  a 
friend,  who  pretended  to  be  dead  also,  persuaded  him 
that  it  was  customary  in  the  other  world  to  eat  a  suffi- 
cient quantity  daily. 

The  misfortune  attending  this  weakness  not  only  is 
that  it  occasions  constant  fear  and  dread,  and  that  many 
diseases  are  actually  excited  because  people  suppose 
they  are  afflicted  with  them,  but  it  induces  patients  to 
have  recourse  to  useless  and  preposterous  medicines, 
and  to  quackery  without  end,  which  often  consume  the 
body  much  more  rapidly  than  the  disease  itself  would, 
did  it  really  exist. 

No  less  dangerous  is  the  second  disease  of  the  imagi- 
nation, sensibility ;  a  romantic  turn  of  mind,  melan- 
choly enthusaism.  It  is  altogether  the  same  whether 
one  really  suffers  under  distressful  events,  or,  by  read- 
ing romances  and  indulging  sensibility  too  much,  has 
made  oneself  so  feelingly  alive  to  every  impression 
as  to  be  overcome  by  the  sensation  it  occasions. 
Nay,  the  latter  case  is  the  more  prejudicial ;  as  the  one 
is  the  natural  state,  but  the  other  artificial ;  and  its 
affections  are,  therefore,  more  violent  and  stronger! 
We  have  already  seen  how  highly  destructive  melan- 
choly is  to  the  vital  power  and  to  every  vital  movement. 
One  may  easily  comprehend,  then,  how  baneful  such  a 
state  must  be,  which  subjects  the  mind  to  continual 
affliction  at  the  hazard  of  life,  and  which  cannot  par- 
take in  refined  pleasures  without  tears  and  heart-break- 
ing sensations.  What  extinction  of  all  energy,  of  all 
cheerfulness  and  courage  !  Two  years  spent  in  such  a 
state  of  ahguish,  would  undoubtedly  shorten  life  in  a 
considerable  degree. 


CHAPTER    XI. 

Poisons  physical  as  well  as  infectious. 

BY  these  I  understand  all  those  substances  which, 
even  in  small  quantity,  are  capable  of  producing  very 
prejudicial  or  destructive  effects  on  the  human  body. 
Of  these  there  is  a  great  abundance  in  nature,  and  of 
various  kinds.  Some  act  violently,  others  secretly ; 
some  suddenly,  others  slowly  ;  some  externally,  others 
internally ;  some  visibly,  others  invisibly ;  and  it  can- 
not be  denied  that  they  may  be  classed  among  the  most 
general  and  the  most  dangerous  enemies  of  life. 

I  consider  it,  therefore,  very  necessary,  as  an  essen- 
tial part  of  that  universal  knowledge  which  ought  to  be 
cultivated  among  mankind,  that  every  one  should  learn 
to  know  and  to  guard  against  these  poisons ;  because 
people  otherwise  may,  through  mere  ignorance  and 
inattention,  be  liable  to  be  poisoned  a  thousand  ways. 
Animals  have  instinct  to  enable  them  to  distinguish  and 
to  avoid  poisons  ;  man  has  reason  and  experience  ;  but 
these,  in  this  respect,  are  far  from  being  sufficiently 
employed.  My  object,  therefore,  here,  is  to  give  man- 
kind such  a  comprehensive  knowledge  and  conception 
of  their  danger  as  may  induce  them  to  guard  against 
these  enemies  of  life. 

It  is  a  very  hurtful  prejudice  that  people,  in  common, 


POISONOUS    METALLIC    SALTS.  205 

consider  nothing  as  poisonous  but  what  can  be  received 
through  the  mouth.  On  the  contrary,  we  may  be  poi- 
soned externally,  as  well  as  internally,  through  every 
part  of  our  bodies,  so  far  as  they  have  absorbing  ves- 
sels ;  through  the  mouth  and  stomach,  through  the 
whole  superficies  of  the  skin,  the  nostrils,  the  ears,  and 
the  lungs,  by  means  of  bad  air.  The  only  difference  is, 
that  the  effects,  in  many  parts,  take  place  slowly  ;  in 
others,  rapidly  ;  and  that  many  kinds  of  poison  have  an 
effect,  in  particular,  upon  one  part,  and  some  upon 
another. 

I  divLle  poisons  in  general  into  two  classes,  physical 
and  contagious ;  the  latter  of  which  are  distinguished 
by  their  being  generated  in  a  living  body,  and  possess- 
ing the  power  of  communicating  themselves  to  another. 

Among  physical  poisons,  a  knowledge  of  the  follow- 
ing is  particularly  necessary :  — 

Arsenic,  better  known  under  the  name  of  rat-poison, 
is  the  most  violent  of  all.  The  smallest  dose  (five  or 
six  grains)  is  sufficient  to  destroy  a  person  with  the  most 
excruciating  torture.  Numberless  are  the  instances  of 
people  having  suffered  a  severe  death  from  it,  but 
rather  through  ignorance  and  carelessness  than  through 
intention.  I  am  of  opinion,  therefore,  that  it  would  be 
much  better  if  this  horrid  poison  were  entirely  banished  ; 
especially  as  it  is  of  so  little  use,  and  is  employed 
almost  for  nothing  else  than  to  kill  rats  and  mice.  At 
any  rate,  it  ought  not  to  be  kept  by  grocers  and  apothe- 
caries, near  drawers  where  there  is  coffee,  sugar,  or  any 
article  used  as  food.  In  the  mean  time,  I  consider  it 
as  my  duty  to  call  the  public  attention  to  a  few  ways  in 
which  poisoning  by  arsenic  may  very  easily  be  possible ; 


206  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

in  which  it  often  happens ;  and  to  warn  mankind 
against  them.  One  of  the  most  frequent  is,  when  it 
is  used  to  destroy  vermin.  If  one  reflects  how  many 
people  have  been  deprived  of  existence  by  poison  des- 
tined for  mice,  this  practice  ought  to  be  altogether 
abandoned.  Let  not  any  one  imagine  that  all  danger 
may  be  prevented  by  great  caution.  I  know  an  in- 
stance where  some  sweet  milk,  standing  in  a  cellar, 
was  poisoned  by  mice  who  had  used  some  of  it  after 
eating  rat-poison.  It  is  much  safer  to  employ  for  the 
same  purpose  poison-nuts,  (Nux  vomica)  ;  which  are 
far  less  hurtful  to  man,  but  at  the  same  time  are  a 
strong  poison  for  animals.  Another  kind  of  poisoning 
with  arsenic,  less  observed,  is  that  by  means  of  arsen- 
ical colors.  Painters  by  profession  know  how  to  secure 
themselves  against  it ;  but  amateurs  and  children  should 
be  very  cautious  in  using  such  colors,  and  at  any  rate 
.avoid  that  bad  practice  of  drawing  the  brush  through 
their  mouth.  Equally  dangerous  are  toys  painted  with 
these  colors,  which  ought  never  to  be  allowed.  Lastly, 
I  advise  every  one  to  guard  against  a  method  of  poison- 
ing with  arsenic  which  is  practised  by  quacks  and 
mountebanks.  These  impostors  sell  abundance  of 
drops,  as  a  cure  for  the  cold  fever,  which  contain 
nothing  but  arsenic.  They  indeed  often  cure  the 
disease  immediately ;  but  they  occasion  consumption 
afterwards,  and  other  fatal  consequences.  Let  people, 
for  Heaven's  sake,  avoid  all  such  arcana. 

A  poison  no  less  dreadful  is  lead.  It  is,  perhaps,  so 
far  more  terrible,  as  it  acts  more  secretly  as  well  as 
more  slowly ;  does  not  discover  itself  immediately,  by 
such  violent  effects ;  and  because  people  may  be  com- 


POISONOUS    METALS.  207 

plctely  ruined  by  it,  before  it  is  known  that  they  are 
poisoned.  With  this  substance,  in  particular,  poisoning 
is  possible  several  ways,  which  the  greater  part  of  the 
public  have  never  remarked,  and  against  which  I  must 
here  put  them  on  their  guard.  In  the  first  place,  when 
people  daily  swallow  with  their  food  and  drink  some 
portion  of  lead,  the  most  dreadful  symptoms,  impossible 
to  be  cured,  may  at  length  break  out,  often,  even  at  the 
end  of  some  years.  This  happens  when  victuals  are 
dressed  in  vessels  made  of  tin,  which  contains  much 
lead,  or  in  such  as  are  badly  glazed ;  or  when  one 
drinks  wine  adulterated  with  lead.  Another  very  usual 
method  of  poisoning  is  by  painting  the  face  with  white 
lead,  using  washes  made  from  lead,  etc.  All  paints  are 
prejudicial,  but  chiefly  the  white,  because  the  whole  of 
them  almost  contain  white  lead ;  and  the  leaden  par- 
ticles may  be  conveyed  into  our  bodies,  as  well  through 
the  skin  as  through  the  stomach.  Lastly,  poisoning 
by  means  of  apartments  newly  painted  with  Avhite 
lead,  or  oil-varnish,  ought  not  to  be  forgotten.  Who- 
ever inhabits  these  too  soon,  may,  in  particular,  receive 
the  poison  into  their  lungs,  and  become  hectic  and  asth- 
matic. 

To  the  same  class  belong,  also,  quicksilver,  antimony, 
and  preparations  of  copper  ;  which  ought  all  to  be  con- 
sidered as  noxious  poisons,  and  which  should  be  guard- 
ed against,  particularly  the  last,  in  regard  to  cooking 
victuals  in  copper  vessels.  Even  the  greater  part  of 
neutral  salts,  when  used  in  too  great  quantity  at  once, 
and  not  sufficiently  dissolved  in  water,  may  be  attended 
with  poisonous  effects.  I  have  met  with  some  instances 
where  an  ounce,  or  an  ounce-and-a-half  of  alum  or  salt- 


208  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

petre,  taken  at  once,  instead  of  Glauber's  salts,  excited 
every  symptom  of  the  most  violent  poison,  and  which 
could  not  be  removed  but  with  difficulty. 

The  vegetable  kingdom  contains  a  multitude  of  poi- 
sons, which  partly  occasion  death  by  torpor,  such  as 
opium  and  deadly  nightshade  ;  and  partly  by  burning 
and  inflammation,  as  mezereon  and  euphorbium.  Great 
mistakes  are  committed  here,  also,  through  inattention. 
Numberless  are  the  instances  where  people,  instead  of 
chervil  (chcenopodium)  for  salad,  have  used  hemlock  ; 
instead  of  parsnips,  have  eaten  the  roots  of  henbane ; 
instead  of  common  mushrooms,  poisonous  fungi ;  or  used 
the  berries  of  the  nightshade,  mezereon,  etc.,  by  which 
they  brought  on  death.  In  every  seminary  of  learn- 
ing, therefore,  a  sufficient  knowledge  of  all  the  poi- 
sonous plants  growing  in  the  neighborhood  should  be 
taught. 

The  poisonous  plants  most  pernicious,  and  which  it 
is  most  necessary  to  know  and  guard  against,  are  the 
belladonna  ;  hemlock  (cicuta)  ;  henbane  (hyosciamm)  ; 
wolfsbane  (aconitum)  ;  foxglove  (digitalis)  ;  nightshade 
(solanum)  ;  darnel  (lolium  temulentum)  ;  mezereon 
(Daphne)  ;  several  sorts  of  the  ranunculus  ;  poisonous 
lettuce  (lactuca  virosa)  ;  and  the  laurel-cherry  (lauroce- 
rasus).  To  these  belong  also  bitter  almonds,  which,  ac- 
cording to  the  latest  experiments,  contain  a  deadly  poi- 
son, not  inferior  to  that  of  the  laurel. 

The  air  even,  in  which  we  live,  can  be  poisoned  so 
as  to  destroy  us  either  suddenly  or  secretly.  I  shall 
here  speak,  in  the  first  place,  of  that  poison  which  we 
ourselves  communicate  to  the  atmosphere  by  living  and 
breathing.  Living  beings  consume,  in  a  certain  quan- 


POISONOUS    PLANTS    AND    AIR.  209 

tity  of  air,  pure  substance  which  we  call  vital  air  (oxy- 
gen) ;  and,  in  place  of  it,  give  back  an  impure  substance 
(carbonic  acid  gas)  not  fit  for  breathing.  If  a  great 
multitude  of  people  are  shut  up  in  a  small  space,  death 
may  soon  be  the  consequence.*  If  the  space  be  larger, 
and  the  number  less,  though  death  may  not  ensue,  the 
effects  may  be  still  prejudicial.  All  places,  therefore, 
where  numerous  bodies  of  people  are  crowded  together, 
ought  to  be  avoided ;  particularly  when  they  have  not 
a  sufficient  height  or  free  passage  for  the  air.  This  is 
most  frequently  the  case  in  play-houses.  One  of  the 
surest  signs  of  the  air  being  poisoned,  is  when  the 
lights  will  no  longer  burn  clear  and  readily,  or  here 
and  there  go  out  of  themselves.  In  an  equal  degree 
is  it  then  unfit  for  life,  because  fire  and  life  require  the 
same  part  of  the  air  for  their  support.  Those  who 
keep  their  sitting  apartments  or  bed-chambers  always 
closely  shut,  expose  themselves  to  a  slow  poisoning  of 
the  like  kind.  In  the  same  manner  may  the  air  be 
poisoned  when  a  great  many  lights  are  kept  burning 
in  a  close  room.  And  the  case  is  the  same  when  one 
sleeps  in  a  close  bed-chamber  where  coals  are  burning, 
by  which  death  is  often  the  consequence.  When  one 
keeps  in  a  close  bed-chamber,  during  night,  a  great 
many  plants  and  shrubs,  the  air  experiences  a  similar 
kind  of  poisoning ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  the  same 
plants,  in  the  daytime,  and  exposed  to  the  sun,  render 
the  air  more  pure  and  wholesome.  Evaporation  from 

*  This  is  sufficiently  proved  by  the  dreadful  instance  which 
happened  in  the  black  hole  at  Calcutta,  where,  of  146  English- 
men, confined  scarcely  twelve  hours,  123  were  destroyed  by  the 
air  being  thus  poisoned. 

14 


210  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

putrid  substances  is  capable  of  producing  the  like  effect. 
The  strong  smelling  effluvia  of  flowers  can  communi- 
cate to  the  air,  in  close  apartments,  a  pernicious,  and 
even ,  a  deadly  quality  also  ;  and  therefore  it  is  not 
proper  to  keep  in  one's  bed-chamber  strong  scented 
flowers,  such  as  the  narcissus,  roses,  etc. 

But  far  more  important  and  dangerous  appear  to  me 
the  class  of  infectious  poisons,  to  which  I  now  proceed ; 
and  I  earnestly  request  that  my  readers  will  pay  the 
utmost  attention  to  the  observations  I  shall  make  re- 
specting them.  Concerning  physical  poisons,  people 
may  always  procure  information :  there  are  works 
which  treat  of  them ;  they  are  known,  and  conse- 
quently can  be  avoided.  With  infectious  poisons  the 
case  is  quite  different.  They  have  been  overlooked,  as 
unavoidable  and  necessary  evils;  they  have  not  been 
much  considered  as  poisons,  but  in  regard  to  the  dis- 
eases which  they  occasion ;  people  poison,  and  are 
poisoned;  and  this  dreadful  secret  trade  is  carried  on 
daily  and  hourly,  without  men  knowing  or  reflecting 
what  they  are  about.  Physical  poisons,  as  is  proper, 
have  been  subjected  to  police  laws :  the  State  takes  care 
that  they  shall  be  carefully  kept,  and  that  the  use  of 
them  be  limited ;  and  those  who  wilfully  administer 
them  to  others,  are  treated  as  criminals,  and  punished. 
The  infectious  poisons,  on  the  other  hand,  are  restrained 
by  no  laws,  by  no  police  ordinances:  they  exercise 
their  ravages  among  us  without  interruption  ;  the  hus- 
band poisons  the  wife,  the  son  the  father ;  and  no  one 
takes  any  trouble  to  remedy  this  evil.  Lastly,  physical 
poisons  hurt  only  the  individual ;  whereas  the  infectious 
possess  the  peculiar  power  of  reproducing  themselves 


INFECTIOUS    TOISONS.  211 

in  every  living  being,  and  of  multiplying  without  end  ; 
they  injure,  therefore,  not  only  those  poisoned,  but  ren- 
der them  new  sources  by  which  whole  neighborhoods 
and  districts  may  be  infected. 

I  could  here  produce  the  most  melancholy  instances 
of  men  who  merely  through  ignorance  were  poisoned 
in  this  manner ;  and  of  some  who  infected  others,  even 
their  nearest  friends,  because  they  were  unacquainted 
with  these  poisons,  and  the  way  in  which  they  are  pro- 
pagated. I,  therefore,  consider  a  knowledge  on  this  sub- 
ject so  necessary,  and  so  defective  among  the  public, 
that  I  with  pleasure  embrace  the  present  opportunity 
of  saying  something  upon  it,  which  may  be  of  general 
utility. 

Infectious  poisons  are  such  as  can  be  no  otherwise 
generated  than  in  a  living  body  ;  and  which  possess  the 
power  of  reproducing  themselves  when  communicated 
to  another,  and  of  giving  rise  to  the  same  corruption 
and  disease  which  prevailed  in  the  former.  Each  class 
of  animals  has  one  peculiar  to  itself,  and  which  does  not 
take  any  effect  upon  another.  Thus  mankind  have 
some  which  do  not  attack  animals :  for  example,  the 
smallpox.  *  Animals,  on  the  other  hand,  are  suscepti- 
ble of  some  which  do  not  affect  men ;  as,  the  disease 
among  horned  cattle,  and  the  glanders  among  horses.f 
I  am  acquainted  with  only  one  peculiar  to  men  as  well 
as  animals,  and  that  is  the  poison  of  canine  madness. 

*  The  smallpox  is  met  with  in  sheep  ;  and  the  cowpox  is  now 
recognized  as  the  smallpox  of  the  cow.  In  my  work  on  "  Dis- 
eases of  the  Skin,  "  I  have  recorded  examples  of  human  small- 
pox being  communicated  to  cows. — EDITOR. 

t  Glanders  is  now  too  well  known  to  be  communicable  to  man 
and  to  give  rise  in  him  to  a  virulent  and  fatal  disorder. — EDITOR. 


212  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN    LIFE. 

A  very  remarkable  difference  between  these  poisons 
is,  that  some  of  them  never  appear  again  without  fresh 
external  infection;  as,  the  smallpox,  measles,  and 
plague :  while  others  may  be  again  produced,  without 
infection,  merely  by  corruption,  and  certain  changes 
which  take  place  in  animal  bodies ;  and  among  the 
latter  class  are  the  putrid  fevers.  It  has,  therefore, 
been  often  asked,  Whence  did  the  poisons  of  the  first 
class  arise  ?  And,  indeed,  it  is  difficult  to  answer  this 
question.  The  analogy  of  the  latter  class,  however, 
allows  us  to  suppose  that  they  were  first  generated  in 
the  human  body,  but  through  so  rare  a  concurrence  of 
external  as  well  as  internal  circumstances  that  thou- 
sands of  years,  perhaps,  must  be  necessary  before  the 
same  thing  can  again  happen.  It  hence  follows,  that 
these  poisons,  as  they  must  always,  in  order  to  continue, 
be  produced  in  a  human  body,  may  again  cease,  as  soon 
as  they  have  been  deprived,  either  by  accident  or  pre- 
cautionary regulations,  of  an  opportunity  to  regenerate. 
A  consoling  reflection,  on  which  the  extirpation,  or  at 
least  banishment  of  them  from  certain  districts  depends  ; 
and  of  the  truth  of  which  we  may  be  convinced  by 
finding  that  some  of  these  poisons,  such  as  those  of 
the  pla"gue  and  leprosy,  have,  by  wise  establishments, 
been  driven  from  among  civilized  nations.  But  this 
consequence  is  also  equally  well  founded,  that,  by  a 
new  concurrence  of  uncommon  circumstances  and  cor- 
ruption in  the  bodies  of  animals,  an  entirely  new  poison 
of  the  like  kind,  hitherto  unknown  in  the  world,  may 
be  again  created. 

Before  all  these  kinds  of  poison,  however,  can  have 
effect,  there  is  necessary,  not  only  a  communication  or 


INFECTIOUS    POISONS.  213 

infection  from  without,  but  also  a  certain  disposition  or 
sensibility  of  the  body.  Hence  that  remarkable  pheno- 
menon, that  many  can  be  poisoned  very  easily,  some 
with  difficulty,  and  many  not  at  all :  nay  that  many  of 
these  poisons  can  affect  us  only  once,  because,  by  being 
once  poisoned,  the  whole  sensibility  of  the  body,  in 
regard  to  the  infection,  is  destroyed ;  as  we  find  to  be 
the  case  in  the  smallpox  and  measles. 

Infection  may  apparently  be  communicated  in  a  great 
variety  of  ways ;  but  it  is  always  confined  to  this  simple 
principle,  that  immediate  contact  with  the  poison  is 
necessary  before  it  can  be  conveyed  to  another.  This, 
however,  must  be  properly  understood.  One  may  come 
into  immediate  contact  with  the  poison,  either  by  touch- 
ing the  body  of  a  diseased  person,  or  any  other  body 
with  which  the  poison  is  united,  or  to  which  it  has  at- 
tached itself;  as,  for  example,  clothes,  fwrniture,  etc. 
A  few  poisons  of  this  kind  have  the  property  of  diffus- 
ing themselves  through  the  atmosphere,  as  those  of  the 
smallpox,  measles,  and  putrid  fevers ;  but  this  con- 
taminated air  remains  poisonous  only  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  the  diseased,  or,  in  other  words,  the  atmos- 
phere only  around  the  diseased  person  is  poisonous.  If 
it  be,  however,  mixed  with  and  thinned  by  purer  air, 
like  every  other  poisonous  solution,  it  ceases  at  length 
to  have  a  poisonous  effect ;  that  is  to  say,  the  poison 
cannot  be  conveyed  by  the  atmosphere  to  any  great 
distance. 

My  principal  view  here  is  to  enable  that  part  of  the 
public  unacquainted  with  physic  to  guard  against  these 
poisons  ;  or,  what  cannot  be  a  matter  of  indifference  to 
any  person  of  benevolence,  to  avoid  communicating  the 


214  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN  LIFE. 

poison  to  others  when  one  is  infected.  I  shall,  there- 
fore, first,  give  a  few  rules  how  people  may  secure 
themselves  from  infection  in  general ;  and  then  treat 
singly  of  those  kinds  of  poison  which  appear  most  com- 
monly among  us,  and  show  how  they  may  be  dis- 
tinguished and  avoided. 

The  best  means  by  which  people,  in  general,  may 
secure  themselves  from  infection  of  every  kind,  consist 
in  the  following  rules :  — 

1st.  Pay  the  utmost  attention  to  cleanliness ;  for  the 
greater  part  of  the  poisons  of  this  kind  are  conveyed  to 
us  through  the  external  surface  of  our  bodies  :  and  it  is 
fully  proved,  that  poison,  already  communicated,  has 
been  by  cleanliness  removed  before  it  could  actually 
produce  any  bad  effect.  I  here  allude,  in  particular,  to 
frequent  washing,  bathing,  rinsing  the  mouth,  combing 
the  hair,  and«often  changing  the  linen,  clothes,  and  bed. 

2nd.  Be  careful  to  admit  pure  air  into  your  apart- 
ments, to  enjoy  the  free  air  often,  and  to  give  the  body 
proper  exercise.  By  these  means,  one  will  preserve 
the  perspiration  and  vital  power  of  the  skin ;  and  the 
more  active  these  are,  the  less  danger  is  to  be  appre- 
hended from  external  infection. 

3rd.  Let  people  endeavor  to  keep  themselves  in 
good  spirits,  and  preserve  serenity  of  mind.  Such  a 
disposition  is  best  calculated  to  support  the  counteract- 
ing power  of  the  body,  free  perspiration,  and  the  out- 
ward tendency  of  the  juices,  by  which  the  catching  of 
infection  is  much  prevented.  This  rule  is  particularly 
to  be  recommended  where  putrid  fevers  prevail ;  and 
there  also  a  glass  of  good  wine  may  be  serviceable. 

4th.  Avoid  coming  into  close  contact  with  people, 


RULES    FOR   AVOIDING   INFECTION.  215 

the  physical  state  of  whose  bodies  you  do  not  perfectly 
know ;  and,  in  particular,  beware  of  touching  them  with 
parts  which  have  no  skin,  or  one  exceedingly  delicate 
and  tender ;  such  as  wounds,  the  lips ;  as,  by  these,  in- 
fection is  soonest  imbibed.  Of  the  like  nature  is  the 
touching  of  substances  which  a  little  before  may  have 
been  used  by  others. 

5th.  When  infectious  diseases  are  prevalent  in  any 
district,  I  would  strongly  advise  people  not  to  go  abroad 
at  night,  because  one  imbibes  infection  much  more 
readily  in  the  night  than  the  daytime. 


CHAPTER    XII. 

Old  age.    Premature  ingrafting  of  it  on  youth. 

Tins  is  the  most  unavoidable  of  all  those  means  that 
tend  to  shorten  life.  It  is  a  secret  thief,  as  Shakspeare 
calls  it,  the  necessary  consequence  of  life  itself :  for,  by 
the  vital  process,  our  vessels  must  become  gradually 
more  desiccated  and  unfit  for  use,  our  juices  more  acrid 
and  less,  the  smaller  vessels  shrivelled,  the  organs  in- 
capable of  performing  their  functions ;  and  the  earthy 
part,  the  surest  means  of  our  destruction,  must  gain  a 
superiority. 

It  cannot,  therefore,  be  altogether  prevented.  The 
question  only  will  be :  Is  it  in  our  power  to  bring  it  on 
sooner  or  later?  And,  unfortunately,  this  question 
must  be  answered  in  the  affirmative.  Modern  times 
afford  us  astonishing  instances  of  the  possibility  of 
bringing  on  premature  old  age,  and  of  causing  the  pe- 
riods of  life  to  follow  each  other  much  more  rapidly. 
We  may  see  at  present,  particularly  in  great  cities,  men 
come  to  maturity  in  their  eighth  year ;  in  their  six- 
teenth, attain  to  the  highest  point  possible  of  their 
perfection ;  in  their  twentieth,  struggling  with  every 
infirmity,  a  proof  that  they  are  already  on  the  decline  ; 
and  in  their  thirtieth,  have  every  appearance  of  ex- 
hausted age,  such  as  wrinkles,  dryness  and  stiffness  of 
the  joints,  a  crooked  spine,  loss  of  sight  and  memory, 


PREMATURE    OLD    AGE.  217 

grey  hair,  and  a  tremulous  voice.  I  once  dissected  the 
body  of  such  an  artificial  old  man,  who  had  scarcely 
attained  the  age  of  forty  ;  and  found  not  only  his  hair 
grey,  but  the  cartilages  of  the  ribs,  which  do  not  be- 
come bones  until  the  greatest  age,  totally  ossified. 

One,  therefore,  can  imitate  by  art,  in  our  climates, 
that  hastening  of  the  periods  of  expansion  as  well  as  of 
old  age,  which,  in  warm  countries,  takes  place  naturally. 

I  must  now  say  a  few  words  on  the  art  of  ingrafting 
old  age  on  youth.  This  is  done  by  weakening  very 
early  the  vital  power  as  well  as  the  juices,  and  giving 
to  the  vessels  the  highest  possible  degree  of  hardness, 
stiffness,  and  want  of  pliability,  which  characterizes  old 
age. 

I  shall  here  lay  before  my  readers  the  surest  means 
to  accomplish  this,  as  it  is  of  importance  to  know  sucii 
prescriptions,  in  order  that  people  may  be  better 
enabled  to  counteract  them.  If  one,  therefore,  will  only 
live  altogether  contrary  to  the  following  rules,  one  may 
be  enabled  to  preserve  one's  self  in  a  state  of  youth  to 
an  advanced  period  of  life. 

1st.  Endeavor,  by  every  art  physical  and  moral,  to 
attain  to  maturity  as  speedily  as  possible,  and  waste  the 
vital  power  with  as  much  profusion  as  possible. 

2nd.  Begin  very  early  to  expose  yourself  to  the 
utmost  fatigue.  Forced  journeys  of  several  days,  con- 
tinual dancing,  sitting  up  all  night,  and  shortening  every 
period  of  rest,  will,  in  this  respect,  be  of  most  service. 
By  these  means  you  will  accomplish  two  objects,  that 
of  speedily  exhausting  the  vital  power,  and  that  of 
making  the  vessels  soon  hard  and  brittle. 

3rd.  Drink  abundance  of  wine  and  strong  liquors. 


218  MEANS    WHICH    SHORTEN   LIFE. 

This  is  an  excellent  prescription  to  desiccate  the  body, 
and  to  make  it  become  shrivelled. 

4th.  Care,  fear,  and  sorrow,  are  extraordinarily  well 
calculated  to  bring  on,  very  early,  every  characteristic 
of  old  age.  We  have  instances  of  persons  acquiring 
grey  hair  in  the  course  of  one  night  spent  under  the 
highest  degree  of  grief  and  terror.  Now,  one  might 
believe,  that  certain  causes  are  absolutely  necessary  to 
produce  these  affections:  but  there  are  people  who 
understand,  in.  a  masterly  manner,  the  art  of  seeing 
everything  in  a  melancholy  light,  of  dreading  some  evil 
from  every  man,  and  pf  finding  in  the  most  common 
circumstances  abundant  matter  to  excite  wretchedness 
and  misery. 

5th.  That  system,  carried  too  far,  or  at  least  badly 
understood,  of  hardening  the  organs  by  the  means  of 
cold,  bathing  frequently  and  for  a  long  time  in  cold 
water ;  nothing  can  be  more  proper  to  produce  every 
symptom  of  age. 

But  it  is  not  enough  that  people  now  attain  old  age, 
in  a  period  during  which  our  ancestors  were  still  young : 
they  unfortunately  go  further.  They  have  found  out 
the  art  of  bringing  into  the  world  children  with  old  age 
upon  them.  Such  phenomena  I  have  sometimes  seen. 
These  shrivelled  beings  enter  upon  the  stage  of  life  with 
the  strongest  features  of  age;  and,  after  two  weeks 
spent  amidst  misery  and  crying,  they  close  their  aged 
life,  or  rather  begin  existence  by  ending  it.  But  I 
shall  draw  a  veil  over  these  horrid  productions  of 
parental  dissipation,  which  appear  to  me  like  the  em- 
bodied sins  of  the  parents. 


PART    III. 
MEANS   WHICH    PROLONG    LIFE. 


CHAPTER  I. 

Good  physical  descent. 

IF  we  take  a  retrospective  view  of  the  principles  on 
which  longevity  depends,  and  the  properties  necessary 
for  promoting  it,  we  shall  readily  perceive  that  much  in 
particular  will  depend  on  the  mass  from  which  we  are 
formed ;  what  quantity  of  vital  power  is  communicated 
to  us  at  our  creation ;  and  whether  a  foundation  be 
then  laid  for  a  strong  or  a  weak  constitution,  a  sound 
or  a  diseased  structure  of  the  vital  organs.  All  this  is 
intimately  connected  with  the  healthful  state  of  our 
parents,  and  the  important  point  of  our  first  existence ; 
and  in  that  sense,  to  be  of  good  birth  is  what  ought  to 
be  wished  in  regard  to  every  man.  It  commonly  be- 
longs to  those  unknown  yet  important  benefits  which 
we  receive  ;  and  is  a  means  of  prolonging  life.  This 
advantage,  however,  we  are  not  able  to  procure  to  our- 
selves ;  but  we  have  it  in  our  power,  and  it  is  our  duty 
to  communicate  it  to  others. 

Three  points  are  here  to  be  considered:  the  state  of 
health  in  which  the  parents  are  ;  the  moment  of  genera- 
tion ;  and  the  period  of  pregnancy. 


220  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

• 

1st.  The  state  of  health,  or  the  vital  stock  of  the  pa- 
rents.—  How  important  this  is  may  be  seen  by  the 
instance  of  whole  families  in  which  longevity  has  been 
as  it  were  a  privilege ;  like  the  family  of  the  before- 
mentioned  Parr,  who  not  only  attained  to  a  great  age 
himself,  but  also  his  father  and  children.  In  the  lon- 
gevity of  parents  lies  a  great  ground  for  enabling  their 
children  to  attain  to  the  same.  This,  therefore,  ought 
to  be  a  powerful  motive  to  induce  those  who  intend  to 
have  children  to  spare  and  preserve  their  vital  power 
as  much  as  possible.  We  are  a  copy  of  our  parents, 
not  merely  in  regard  to  the  common  form  and  texture, 
but  in  respect  to  particular  weaknesses  and  faults  of 
single  parts.  A  foundation  even  for  diseases,  which 
have  their  root  in  our  structure  and  constitution,  may 
be  thus  communicated.  I  am  convinced,  above  all, 
bv  repeated  experience,  that  great  weakening  of  the 
constitution  by  early  excesses,  communicates  to  children 
a  peculiar  weakness  of  the  glandular  and  lymphatic 
system,  which  ends  in  the  scrofula,  as  it  is  called ;  and 
occasions  this  disease  to  appear  in  the  first  months  of 
life,  or  even  at  the  very  birth.  The  too  youthful  or  too 
great  age  of  the  parents  is  likewise  prejudicial  to  the 
strength  and  vital  duration  of  the  children. 

2nd.  The  moment  of  generation.  —  This  is  of  much 
more  importance  than  commonly  believed,  and  has 
great  influence,  both  in  a  moral  and  physical  view,  on 
the  life  of  the  future  being.  The  first  germ  of  a  new 
creature  is  here  quickened ;  the  first  vital  power  is 
communicated  to  it.  How  much  must  the  perfection  or 
imperfection  of  the  produce  be  determined  by  a  perfect 
or  imperfect,  sound  or  a  diseased  condition  of  the  active 


GOOD    PHYSICAL    DESCENT.  221 

causes  ?  Is  it  not  to  be  wished  that  parents  would  pay 
some  attention  to  this  remark,  and  never  forget  that  the 
above  moment  is  of  the  utmost  importance  ;  that  it  is 
the  moment  of  creation  ;  and  that  Nature,  not  without 
reason,  has  connected  with  it  the  highest  exaltation  of 
our  existence  ?  However  difficult  it  may  be  to  collect 
observations  from  experience  on  this  subject,  I  have 
known  some  undeniable  instances  where  children, 
begotten  in  the  moment  of  intoxication,  remained  stupid 
and  idiots  during  their  whole  life.  Now,  what  can  be 
effected  by  the  highest  extremity,  may  be  done,  on  a 
small  scale,  by  a  mean  degree ,  and  why  should  it  not 
be  admitted,  that  a  being  procreated  at  the  period  of 
ill-humour,  bodily  indisposition,  or  nervous  debility,  may 
carry  with  it,  during  its  whole  existence,  some-  small 
particles  of  these  evils  ?  Hence  the  evident  preference 
of  the  child  of  love  to  the  children  of  duty.  In  my 
opinion,  therefore,  it  is  of  the  utmost  importance,  even 
in  the  married  state,  that  this  moment  should  be  con- 
fined to  a  period  when  the  sensation  of  collected  powers, 
ardent  passion,  and  a  mind  cheerful  and  free  from  care, 
invites  to  it  on  both  sides ;  and  this  forms  a  new  ground 
against  the  too  frequent,  forced,  or  mechanical  enjoy- 
ment of  wedded  love. 

3rd.  The  period  of  pregnancy.  —  Though  the  father, 
without  doubt,  is  the  original  source  from  which  the 
future  being  acquires  its  first  quickening,  its  earliest 
breath  of  life,  the  general  mass  and  most  material  part 
proceeds  entirely  from  the  mother.  The  latter  is  the 
soil  from  which  the  seed  derives  its  juices ;  and  the 
future  constitution,  the  proper  substance  of  the  child, 


222  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

must  principally  assume  the  character  of  that  being  of 
whom  it  makes  so  long  a  part,  and  of  whose  flesh  and 
blood  it  is  actually  composed.  Besides,  not  only  the* 
constitution  of  the  mother,  but  also  other  favorable  or 
unfavorable  causes,  during  the  time  of  pregnancy,  must 
have  a  great  influence  on  the  whole  formation  and  life 
of  the  being.  This  is  confirmed  by  experience.  The 
child's  state  of  health,  and  the  greater  or  less  strength 
of  its  constitution  are  determined,  in  a  particular  man- 
ner, much  more  according  to  the  condition  of  the  mother, 
than  that  of  the  father.  By  a  weakly  father  a  robust 
child  can  always  be  produced,  provided  the  mother 
have  a  sound  and  vigorous  body.  The  substance  of 
the  father  is,  as  it  were,  in  her  ennobled.  On  the  other 
hand,  the  strongest  man  will  never  obtain  a  lively, 
healthy  child  from  a  mother  who  is  weak  and  sickly. 
"With  regard  to  the  protection  of  the  child  during 
pregnancy  against  all  dangers  and  hurtful  effects,  we 
find  a  regulation  which  displays  the  provident  care  of 
Divine  Wisdom.  Though  the  most  intimate  connection 
subsists  between  it  and  the  mother,  and  though  for 
nearly  a  year  it  forms  a  part  of  her,  and  partakes  of 
her  nourishment  and  juices,  it  is  secured  not  only 
against  accidental  injuries  by  its  situation  and  floating 
in  a  watery  element,  but  also  against  moral  and  ner- 
vous impressions  by  there  being  no  nervous  connection 
between  it  and  the  mother.  We  have,  therefore,  nu- 
merous instances  of  the  mother  dying,  while  the  child 
continued  alive.  Nature  has  even  conjoined  with  this 
state  a  certain  immunity  from  sickness ;  and  it  is  a 
principle  established  by  experience,  that  a  pregnant 


GOOD    PHYSICAL    DESCENT.  223 

woman  suffers  much  less  from  infectious  and  otjier 
causes  of  disease  ;  and  that  a  female  has  never  a  greater 
probability  of  living  than  while  in  that  condition. 

So  much  have  mankind  been,  at  all  times,  impressed 
with  the  importance  of  this  period,  that,  among  ancient 
nations,  a  pregnant  woman  was  considered  as  a  person 
sacred  and  secure  from  injury,  and  that  every  one  who 
hurt  or  ill-treated  her  was  thought  deserving  of  double 
punishment.  Our  age,  unfortunately,  has  here  made  a 
difference,  both  in  a  physical  and  a  political  view.  The 
weak  nerved,  sensible,  and  delicate  constitution  of  the 
female  sex,  at  present,  renders  the  preservation  of  the 
fruit  in  the  mother's  womb  much  more  uncertain  and 
dangerous.  The  womb  of  the  mother  is  no  longer  a 
place  of  safety,  the  undisturbed  atelier  of  Nature. 
Through  that  unnatural  sensibility  which  is  now  so  pe- 
culiar to  a  great  part  of  our  women,  they  have  become 
far  more  susceptible  of  a  thousand  prejudicial  effects,  a 
multitude  of  passions ;  and  the  fruit  suffers  by  every 
mental  affection,  every  alarm,  every  cause  of  disease, 
and  even  by  the  most  trifling  accident.  It  is,  therefore, 
impossible  that  a  child,  in  a  place  where  its  formation 
and  expansion  are  every  moment  interrupted  and  dis- 
turbed, should  acquire  that  degree  of  perfection  and 
strength  to  which  it  was  destined.  And  yet  little 
attention  do  mankind  pay,  either  in  a  civil  or  political 
point  of  view,  to  the  importance  of  this  condition. 
Who  thinks,  at  present,  on  the  sacredness  of  a  pregnant 
woman  ;  or,  who  regulate  their  behavior  to  her,  by  re- 
flecting that  the  life,  or  at  any  rate  the  physical  and 
moral  formation,  of  a  future  being  may  thereby  be  en- 
dangered ?  Nay,  how  few  pregnant  women  take  that 


224  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG   LIFE. 

care  of  this  condition  which  it  deserves  !  and  how  few 
are  able  to  deny  themselves  that  pleasure  and  those 
gratifications  which  may  be  attended  with  mischief! 

In  my  opinion,  therefore,  the  following  rules  may, 
with  great  propriety,  be  founded  on  these  observations  : 

1st.  Such  highly  weak  nerved  and  sensible  people 
ought  never  to  marry  ;  if  not  through  a  regard  for  them- 
selves, and  on  account  of  the  sufferings  which  they  may 
thereby  avoid,  at  any  rate  out  of  compassion  for  the 
miserable  race  of  which  they  would  be  authors.  In  the 
education  of  daughters,  people  above  all  things  should 
be  attentive  to  guard  against  this  unfortunate  sensi- 
bility ;  because,  from  a  regard  for  the  complection,  for 
appearance,  and  a  multitude  of  other  points  which  be- 
long merely  to  etiquette,  a  contrary  conduct  is  observed. 
And  lastly,  it  is  the  duty  of  every  man,  when  he  chooses 
a  wife,  to  be  particularly  careful  that  her  nervous  sys- 
tem be  not  too  irritable.  Should  this  be  the  case,  the 
principal  object  of  marriage,  to  produce  sound  and 
robust  children,  is  entirely  lost. 

2nd.  Women  ought  to  pay  more  attention  to  this 
period,  and  to  observe  a  good  moral  as  well  as  physical 
regimen ;  for  they  have  then  in  their  power  the  degree 
of  perfection  or  imperfection,  of  the  good  or  bad  struc- 
ture of  the  mind  and  body  of  their  child. 

3rd.  Men  in  general  should  have  respect  for  a  preg- 
nant woman  in  this  point  of  view ;  and,  as  the  deposi- 
tary of  a  human  being  during  its  state  of  formation, 
treat  her  with  every  care,  tenderness,  and  attention. 
Every  husband,  in  particular,  ought  to  make  this  a 
duty ;  and  to  reflect  that  he  thereby  watches  over  the 
life  and  health  of  his  offspring,  and  deserves,  in  the 
fullest  sense,  the  title  of  father. 


CHAPTER   II. 

Prudent  physical  education. 

THE  physical  treatment  during  the  two  first  years  of 
existence  is,  in  particular,  a  very  important  circum- 
stance in  regard  to  the  prolongation  of  life.  That 
period  ought  properly  to  be  considered  as  a  continued 
generation.  The  first  part  only  of  formation  and  ex- 
pansion takes  place  in  the  mother's  womb  ;  the  second, 
which  is  no  less  important,  takes  place  externally  dur- 
ing the  two  first  years  of  life.  A  child  comes  into  the 
world  as  a  being  only  half  finished.  The  most  im- 
portant and  delicate  expansion,  that  of  the  nerves  and 
organs  of  the  soul,  the  organs  of  respiration,  the  mus- 
cular system,  the  teeth,  the  bones,  the  organs  of  speech, 
and  all  the  other  parts,  both  in  regard  to  form  and 
structure,  now  follows.  One  may  readily  comprehend, 
therefore,  what  influence  the  different  circumstances, 
under  which  this  continued  process  of  formation  and 
expansion  is  carried  on,  whether  they  act  so  as  to  im- 
pede, derange,  and  weaken,  or  to  accelerate,  must  have 
on  the  perfection  and  duration  of  life.  A  foundation: 
may  certainly  be  here  laid  for  slow  or  rapid  consump- 
tion ;  for  a  body  exposed  to  more  or  to  fewer  dangers. 

All  the  precepts  and  rules  respecting  this  period  may 
be  reduced  to  the  following  principles  :  — 

1st.  All  the  organs,  but  in  particular  those  on  which 
15 


226  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

health  and  the  duration  of  physical  as  well  as  spiritual 
life  chiefly  depend,  must  be  completely  formed,  exer- 
cised, and  brought  to  the  highest  degree  of  perfection. 
Among  these  I  reckon  the  stomach,  the  lungs,  the  skin, 
the  heart,  the  vascular  system,  and  the  organs  of  thought. 
A  foundation  may  be  laid  for  good  lungs,  by  pure  open 
air ;  and  afterwards,  by  speaking,  singing,  running ; 
for  a  sound  stomach  by  wholesome  food,  easy  of  di- 
gestion ;  but  neither  too  strong  and  stimulating,  nor 
too  highly  seasoned :  for  a  sound  skin,  by  cleanliness, 
washing,  bathing,  pure  air,  a  temperature,  neither  too 
hot  nor  too  cold,  and,  afterwards,  by  exercise :  and  for 
a  strong  heart  and  vessels,  by  all  the  above  means  ;  in 
particular,  by  wholesome  nourishment,  and  afterwards 
by  bodily  motion. 

2nd.  The  successive  expansion  of  the  physical  and 
spiritual  powers  must  be  properly  supported;  and  be 
neither  impeded,  nor  too  much  promoted.  Attention 
must  be  always  paid  to  an  uniform  distribution  of  the 
vital  power  ;  for  harmony  and  equality  in  the  motions 
are  the  foundation  of  health  and  life.  Bathing  and  free 
air  will  contribute  to  this  in  the  beginning,  and  after- 
wards bodily  exercise. 

3rd.  The  sensation  of  the  body  in  regard  to  disease, 
that  is  to  say,  its  susceptibility  of  the  causes  of  disease, 
must  be  hardened  and  blunted ;  as  also  its  sensation 
of  cold  and  heat,  and  afterwards  that  of  small  irregu- 
larities and  fatigue.  By  these  means  two  advantages 
will  be  gained ;  vital  consumption,  by  the  sensibility 
being  moderated,  will  be  lessened ;  and  the  derange- 
ment of  it  by  diseases  will  be  guarded  against. 

4th.  Every  cause  and  germ  of  disease  in  the  body 


PRUDENT    PHYSICAL    EDUCATION.  227 

must  be  removed  and  banished  ;  such  as  accumulations 
of  phlegm,  obstructions  of  the  mesentery,  and  sharp 
acrid  humors  ;  faults  which  may  arise  from  external 
hurts  and  impressions,  too  confined  bandages,  want  of 
strict  cleanliness,  etc. 

5th.  The  vital  power  itself  must  be  always  sufficiently 
nourished  and  strengthened,  particularly  by  means  of 
fresh  air ;  and  the  healing  power  of  nature  must,  above 
all  things,  be  supported  from  the  beginning,  because  it 
is  the  principal  means  which  lies  in  ourselves  for  render- 
ing the  causes  of  disease  ineffectual.  This  may  be  done 
chiefly  by  not  accustoming  the  body  at  first  too  much 
to  artificial  assistance ;  otherwise  Nature  will  be  so 
used  that  she  will  depend  on  foreign  aid,  and  at  length 
lose  altogether  the  power  of  assisting  herself. 

6th.  The  whole  operation  of  life  and  vital  consumption 
must  not  at  first  be  put  into  too  great  activity  but  be 
preserved  in  a  moderate  state ;  by  which  means  its  tone 
may  be  regulated  for  the  whole  life,  and  also  for  a  slow 
and  a  long  life. 

The  following  simple  means,  which,  in  my  opinion, 
form  the  principal  part  of  physical  education,  may 
serve  for  accomplishing  what  is  contained  in  the  above 
precepts. 

We  must  here,  however,  distinguish  two  periods. 
The  first  period  is  from  birth  to  the  end  of  the 
second  year ;  and  the  chief  points  to  be  observed  are  as 
follow :  — 

I.  The  nourishment  must  be  good,  but  suited  to  that 
tender  age ;  easy  of  digestion,  rather  fluid  than  solid ; 
fresh  and  sound ;  nutritive,  but  not  too  strong,  stimulat- 
ing, or  heating. 


228  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

Nature,  here,  is  our  best  guide  ;  as  she  has  destined 
milk  to  be  the  earliest  food  of  man.  Milk  possesses 
all  the  above  qualities,  in  the  most  perfect  degree :  it 
is  full  of  nutritive  substance,  but  mild  and  nourishing, 
without  heating  or  stimulating :  it  holds  a  mean  rank 
between  animal  and  vegetable  food ;  unites  the  advan- 
tage of  the  latter,  that  of  being  less  stimulating  than 
flesh,  with  all  the  advantages  of  flesh :  that  is  to  say, 
its  being  already  assimilated  to  us  by  preparation  in  a 
living  animal  body,  which  makes  it  more  easily  assume 
the  character  of  our  substance ;  and,  in  a  word,  it  is 
altogether  suited  to  the  nature  of  an  infant. 

The  body  of  a  child  lives  quicker  than  that  of  a  full- 
grown  man,  and  changes  oftener  its  component  parts. 
Besides,  it  requires  nourishment,  not  merely  for  its  sup- 
port, but  for  its  continual  growth,  which  is  never  so 
rapid  during  the  whole  course  of  life  as  the  first  year. 
It  is  evident,  therefore,  that  it  has  occasion  for  abun- 
dance of  concentrated  nourishment ;  but  as  its  powers  of 
digestion  are  weak,  it  is  not  able  to  prepare  and  assimi- 
late food  that  is  solid  or  heterogeneous  to  its  nature ; 
such,  for  example,  as  vegetables.  Its  nourishment  must 
then  be  fluid,  and  already  animalized ;  that  is,  be  prepared 
and  rendered  like  its  nature  in  another  animal  body. 
It  has,  however,  a  great  degree  of  irritability  and  sensi- 
bility ;  so  that  a  small  irritation,  which  a  grown-up 
person  would  scarcely  feel,  may  in  it  produce  an  artifi- 
cial fever,  or  the  cramp  and  convulsions.  The  nourish- 
ment of  a  child  must  on  this  account  be  mild,  and  ex- 
actly suited  to  its  irritability. 

I  consider  it,  therefore,  as  one  of  the  first  laws  of 
Nature,  and  a  principal  ground  for  a  long  and  healthy 


PRUDENT    PHYSICAL    EDUCATION.  229 

life,  that  a  child  should  be  nourished,  during  the  whole  of 
the  first  year,  by  the  milk  of  its  mother,  or  of  a  sound 
nurse. 

From  this  law  of  Nature  people  in  modern  times 
make  many  deviations,  which  undoubtedly  have  the 
most  prejudicial  influence  on  the  duration  of  life  and 
health,  and  which  I  must  therefore  here  mention. 

Some  have  attempted  to  nourish  and  educate  chil- 
dren by  slimy  vegetable  substances.  These  sometimes, 
and  in  particular  cases,  may  be  useful,  but,  without 
any  other  food,  are  certainly  hurtful ;  for  they  do  not 
afford  sufficient  nourishment,  and,  what  is  worse,  do 
not  become  properly  animalized,  and  retain  still  a  part 
of  their  sour  vegetable  nature  in  the  body  of  the  child. 
Such  food,  therefore,  produces  weak  meagre  childien, 
continually  tormented  with  acidities  at  the  stomach, 
sour  eructations,  phlegm,  obstructions  in  the  glands,  and 
the  scrofula. 

Still  worse  is  the  custom  of  nourishing  children  with 
flour-pap  ;  for  this  food,  besides  the  disadvantage  of  its 
acid  nature,  as  being  a  vegetable  aliment,  obstructs  the 
tender  lacteal  vessels,  and  those  of  the  mesentery  ;  and 
lays  a  certain  foundation  for  the  scrofula  and  consump- 
tion of  the  lungs. 

Others,  to  avoid  these  evils,  and  partly  through  an- 
glomania,  make  choice  of  flesh  nutriment  for  their 
children,  and  give  them  wine,  beer,  and  other  things 
of  the  like  kind.  This  prejudice  deserves  in  particular 
to  be  reprobated,  because  it  seems  daily  to  gain  more 
advocates,  because  it  agrees  with  the  exciting  method 
so  much  approved  at  present,  and  because  the  mischief 
it  occasions  is  not  always  sufficiently  attended  to  by 


230  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

physicians.  People  say,  in  common,  flesh  is  strength- 
ening; and  that  is  precisely  what  a  child  requires. 
But  the  grounds  on  which  I  found  a  contrary  opinion 
are  as  follows  :  —  There  must  always  be  a  certain  rela- 
tion between  the  nourishment  and  the  body  to  be  nour- 
ished, between  the  irritation  and  the  irritability.  The 
greater  the  irritability,  the  stronger  is  the  effect  which 
may  be  produced  by  a  small  irritation  ;  the  smaller  the 
former,  the  effect  of  the  latter  will  be  so  much  weaker. 
Now,  this  irritability  in  human  life  is  always  in  an  in- 
verse ratio  to  the  age.  In  the  first  period  of  life  it  is 
strongest ;  and  it  every  year  becomes  weaker,  till  it  is 
entirely  extinguished  by  old  age.  We  may  therefore 
say  that  milk,  in  regard  to  its  irritating  and  strengthen- 
ing power,  is  as  exactly  proportioned  to  a  child,  as  flesh 
to  an  adult,  or  wine  to  an  old  man.  But  if  one  give 
flesh  nourishment  to  a  child  too  soon,  one  gives  it  an 
irritation  like  that  occasioned  by  wine  to  grown-up  per- 
sons, which  is  much  too  strong,  and  not  destined  for  it 
by  Nature.  The  consequences  are,  that  a  kind  of  arti- 
ficial fever  is  produced  and  kept  up  in  the  child,  that 
the  circulation  of  the  blood  is  accelerated,  its  warmth 
increased,  and  that  a  habit  with  a  tendency  to  violent 
inflammatory  disorders  is  created.  Such  a  child  has  a 
full  blooming  look  ;  but  the  slightest  cause  may  occasion 
a  violent  commotion  in  the  blood  ;  and  when  it  arrives 
at  the  period  of  teething,  or  if  attacked  by  the  small- 
pox, or  any  other  kind  of  fever,  when  the  tendency  of 
the  blood  to  the  head  is  so  strong,  one  may  rest  assured 
that  some  inflammatory  disorder,  convulsions,  or  apo- 
plexy will  ensue.  People  in  general  believe  that  one 
can  die  only  through  weakness ;  but  one  may  die  also 


PRUDENT    PHYSICAL    EDUCATION.  231 

through  too  much  strength  and  irritation  ;  and  this  may 
take  place  by  the  injudicious  use  of  irritating  things. 
Besides,  by  giving  such  strong  nourishment  to  children, 
one  accelerates,  from  the  beginning,  their  vital  opera- 
tion and  consumption  ;  the  whole  system  and  organs 
are  put  into  too  great  activity  ;  a  foundation  is  origi- 
nally laid  for  a  more  vigorous  but  a  quicker  life  ;  and, 
under  the  idea  of  strengthening,  one  really  establishes 
the  principal  cause  of  a  short  life.  One  also  ought  not 
to  forget  that,  by  this  early  use  of  flesh  nourishment, 
the  expansive  process  of  teething,  and  afterwards  that 
of  manhood,  are  hastened  too  much,  a  great  means  of 
shortening  life ;  and  that  it  has  a  bad  influence  on  the 
whole  character.  All  carnivorous  men  and  animals 
are  violent,  cruel,  and  passionate  ;  while,  on  the  o*her 
hand,  the  use  of  vegetable  food  inclines  men  more  to 
mildness  and  humanity.  This  I  have  often  found  con- 
firmed by  experience.  Children  who  had  used  flesh  too 
early,  and  in  too  great  quantity,  became  always  strong 
men,  but  passionate,  violent,  and  brutal ;  and  I  very 
much  doubt  whether  such  a  disposition  be  fortunate, 
either  for  the  individuals,  or  for  mankind  in  general. 
There  are  certainly  cases  in  which  the  early  use  of 
flesh  nourishment  may  be  useful,  particularly  for  weak 
children,  educated  without  the  mother's  milk,  and  who 
suffer  from  acidities  ;  but  it  is  then  to  be  considered 
as  a  medicine,  and  must  be  regulated  and  the  quantity 
determined  by  a  physician.  What  I  have  said  respect- 
ing flesh  is  applicable  still  more  to  wine,  coffee,  choco- 
late, spiceries,  and  the  like.  It  is,  therefore,  a  very 
important  rule,  in  regard  to  the  physical  education  of 
children,  that  a  child,  during  the  first  half-year,  should 


232  MEANS     WHICH    PROLONG    LIFE. 

taste  no  flesh,  no  flesh  soups,  no  beer,  and  no  coffee  ; 
but  be  nourished  merely  by  the  milk  of  its  mother.  In 
the  second  half-year,  light  soups  may  be  admitted  ;  but 
flesh  itself  ought  never  to  be  given  till  the  teeth  have 
appeared,  —  that  is,  till  the  end  of  the  second  year. 

But  as  many  insuperable  circumstances  may  occur  to 
prevent  a  child  from  being  educated  in  the  natural 
manner  in  which  it  ought ;  such,  for  example,  as  the 
nervous  weakness  of  the  mother,  or  her  sickly  asthmatic 
state,  by  which  the  child  would  lose  more  than  it  could 
gain  in  regard  to  its  vital  duration ;  and  if  a  sound 
nurse  cannot  be  procured,  the  melancholy  necessity  then 
arises  of  educating  the  child  artificially ;  and  though  this 
method  is  always  injurious,  in  some  measure,  to  the 
health  as  well  as  duration  of  life,  it  may  be  rendered 
less  prejudicial  by  observing  the  following  precepts:  — 
Let  the  child,  at  least,  where  it  is  possible,  derive  its 
nourishment  from  its  mother  for  the  first  fortnight,  or 
month.  One  cannot  imagine  of  how  much  benefit  this  is 
in  the  first  period.  As  the  best  substitute  for  the  moth- 
er's milk,  sheep  or  ass's  milk  may  then  be  given ;  but 
always  immediately  after  it  has  been  milked,  and  while 
it  yet  retains  its  natural  warmth.  It  would  be  still  bet- 
ter to  let  the  child  suck  the  animal.  Should  this  be 
impracticable,  let  the  child  have  a  mixture  of  cow's  milk 
and  water,  always  lukewarm ;  and  fresh  milk,  at  least 
once  every  day.  A  remark  of  some  importance  here 
is,  that  one  must  not  warm  the  milk,  (otherwise  it  as- 
sumes a  certain  character  of  acidity,)  but  only  the 
water  which  is  added  to  it.  With  this  artificial  nourish- 
ment it  is  necessary  to  give,  somewhat  sooner,  pap 
made  of  biscuit,  pounded  very  fine,  barley,  sago,  or 


PRUDENT   PHYSICAL    EDUCATION.  233 

saloop,  boiled  with  half  milk  and  water  ;  also  light,  but 
not  fat,  bouillis  and  egg-water ;  that  is,  the  yolk  of  an 
egg  beat  up  in  a  pint  of  water  and  mixed  with  a  little 
sugar.  Potatoes  during  the  first  two  years  are  preju- 
dicial. However  little  I  consider  them  unhealthful  in 
general,  they  are  certainly  too  hard  of  digestion  for  so 
tender  a  stomach,  as  they  are  of  a  clammy  viscid  nature. 

II.  Let  the  child,  after  the  third  week,  (earlier  in 
summer,  but  later  in  winter,)  enjoy  the  free  air  every 
day,  and  continue  this  practice  without  any  interruption 
on  account  of  the  weather. 

A  perfect  similarity  prevails  here  between  children 
and  plants.  Give  the  latter  the  richest  nourishment 
and  warmth,  but  deprive  them  of  air  and  light,  they  will 
become  pale,  withered,  and  stunted,  and  at  length  die. 
The  use  of  pure  free  air,  and  of  the  vital  component 
parts  which  it  contains,  is  a  nourishment  as  indispensa- 
bly necessary  for  the  support  of  life  as  eating  and 
drinking.  I  have  known  people  who  remained  weak 
and  pale-colored  throughout  their  whole  lives,  because 
they  were  nurtured  during  their  first  years  like  plants 
in  a  hothouse ;  whereas,  on  the  other  hand,  the  daily 
use  of  light  and  free  air  is  the  only  means  to  produce  a 
blooming  complexion,  and  to  communicate  strength  and 
energy  sufficient  to  last  one's  whole  life.  This  advan- 
tage also  is  of  great  importance,  that  a  person  is  there- 
by enabled  afterwards  to  bear,  without  injury,  varia- 
tions of  heat  and  cold. 

It  is  most  beneficial  when  the  child  enjoys  the  free 
air  in  a  place  covered  with  grass  and  trees,  at  a  little 
distance  from  one's  habitation.  The  enjoyment  of  air 
in  the  streets  of  a  city  is  far  less  wholesome. 


234  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

III.  Let  the  body  of  the  child  be  washed  daily  with 
fresh  cold  water:  a  rule  indispensably  necessary  for 
cleansing  and  invigorating  the  skin ;  for  strengthening 
the  whole  nervous  system ;  and  for  laying  the  founda- 
tion of  a  sound  and  long  life. 

This  practice  of  washing  ought  to  commence  at  the 
birth  ;  but  during  the  first  week  lukewarm  water  must 
be  used ;  cold  water  ought  to  be  employed  afterwards, 
and  it  is  of  great  importance  that  it  be  fresh  drawn  from 
a  spring  or  running  stream ;  for  water  contains  fixed 
air  which  evaporates  when  it  has  stood  any  time,  and 
which  communicates  to  it  a  very  strengthening  quality. 
The  child,  however,  must  be  washed  speedily ;  and  its 
body  ought  to  be  immediately  rubbed  and  dried :  for 
slow  bathing  cools,  but  speedy  friction  warms.  Lastly, 
it  should  not  be  washed  when  it  just  comes  from  bed, 
nor,  in  general,  while  it  perspires. 

IV.  Every  week  it  ought  to  be  bathed  once  or  twice 
in  tepid  water,  warmed  to  the  temperature  of  new  milk, 
or  from  86°  to  91°  of  Fahrenheit's  thermometer. 

This  excellent  practice  unites  in  it  such  an  extraor- 
dinary number  of  virtues,  and  is  at  the  same  time  so 
suited  to  the  age  of  infancy,  that  I  may  call  it  a  real 
arcanum  for  bringing  to  perfection  and  forming  the 
future  man.  Cleansing  and  invigorating  the  skin,  free 
but  not  accelerated  expansion  of  the  powers  and  organs, 
uniform  circulation,  harmonious  acting  in  concert  of  the 
whole  (the  foundation  of  health),  strengthening  the 
nervous  system,  moderating  the  too  great  irritability  of 
the  vessels  and  too  rapid  vital  consumption,  purifying 
the  juices,  are  all  its  effects  ;  and  I  can,  with  confidence, 
assert  that  I  am  acquainted  with  no  assistant  means  of 


PRUDENT   PHYSICAL    EDUCATION.  235 

physical  education  which  possess  in  so  high  a  degree, 
every  requisite  for  laying  the  foundation  of  a  long  and 
healthful  life.  The  bath  must  not  consist  entirely  of 
boiled  water,  but  of  water  fresh  drawn  from  a  well,  to 
which  some  hot  water,  sufficient  to  bring  it  to  a  luke- 
warm temperature,  has  been  added.  In  summer  that 
water  is  best  which  has  been  warmed  by  the  rays  of 
the  sun.  The  bathing  should  be  continued,  at  this 
period  of  age,  a  quarter  of  an  hour  each  time,  and  after- 
wards longer.  It  ought  never  to  be  used  during  the 
first  hour  after  eating. 

V.  Be  careful  not  to  keep  a  child  too  warm :  that  is, 
avoid  warm  rooms,  warm  beds,  and  clothing.     Keeping 
too  warm  increases  irritability  in  a  great  degree,  and 
gives  occasion  also  to  speedier  vital  consumption  ;  it 
debilitates  and  relaxes  the  vessels,  accelerates  expan- 
sion, weakens  and  deadens  the  skin,  disposes  the  body 
to  continual  perspiration,  and  thus  renders  it  always 
liable  to  injury  from  cold.     I  consider  it  of  great  im- 
portance to  accustom  children  to  sleep  from  their  in- 
fancy on  mattresses  made  of  horsehair,  chaff,  or  moss. 
These  never  acquire  too  much  heat ;  have  more  elas- 
ticity, and  prevent  too  great  tenderness.     They  oblige 
the  child  also,  as  they  do  not  yield  to  pressure,  to  lie 
straight  and  extended ;   by  which  means  they  guard 
against  overgrowth,  and  the  premature  excitement  of 
their  organic  system. 

VI.  Let  the  clothing  be  wide,  in  no  manner  confined ; 
and  made  of  some  substance  not  too  warm  to  check  per- 
spiration, such  as  fur,  but  of  stuff  that  can  be  often 
renewed  or  washed.     Cotton  is  the  best ;  and  during 
the  severity  of  winter,  light  woollen  stuffs.     Avoid  all 


236  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

. 

close  bandages,  stiff  stays,  small  shoes ;  for  these  may 
give  occasion  to  diseases  which  will  afterwards  shorten 
life.  The  head,  from  the  fourth  to  the  eighth  week, 
must  be  kept  quite  bare ;  but  this  ought  to  be  deter- 
mined by  the  season  of  the  year. 

VII.  Pay  the  utmost  attention  to  cleanliness ;  that  is, 
change  the  shirt  daily ;  the  clothing  every  week :  the 
bed-clothes  every  month ;  and  remove  every  cause  of 
noxious  evaporation  ;  in  particular  do  not  suffer  too 
many  people  to  be  in  the  nursery ;  and  allow  no  clothes 
to  be  dried,  or  any  foul  linen  to  remain  in  it.  Cleanli- 
ness for  children  is  one-half  of  their  life :  the  cleaner 
they  are  kept  the  more  will  they  prosper  and  thrive. 
By  cleanliness  alone,  with  very  moderate  nourishment, 
they  may  in  a  short  time  be  rendered  strong,  vigorous, 
and  lively ;  whereas,  without  cleanliness,  even  with  the 
richest  nourishment,  they  will  continue  sickly  and  weak. 
Want  of  attention  to  this  precept  is  the  cause  why  so 
many  children  pine  away  and  are  consumed  without 
any  visible  reason.  Ignorant  people  imagine  that  they 
must  be  bewitched,  or  under  the  influence  of  some  evil 
spirit ;  but  dirt  alone  is  the  demon  by  which  they  are 
tormented,  and  which  in  the  end  will  undoubtedly 
destroy  them. 

The  second  period  is  from  the  end  of  the  second  to 
the  twelfth  or  fourteenth  year ;  and  I  here  recommend 
the  following  precepts  ;  — 

I.  Let  the  rules  respecting  cleanliness,  washing  with 
cold  water,  bathing,  light  clothing,  and  living  in  free  air 
be  observed  according  to  the  foregoing  directions. 

II.  The  food  must  not  be  too  delicate  and  artificial, 
or  too  coarse.     It  will  be  best  in  this  period  to  allow 


PRUDENT   PHYSICAL    EDUCATION.  237 

children  a  sufficient  mixture  of  flesh  and  vegetables ; 
and  to  accustom  them  to  every  thing,  but  neither  to  eat 
too  much  nor  too  often.  People  may  rest  assured  that, 
if  they  put  in  practice  all  the  other  rules  respecting 
physical  education,  bodily  exercise,  and  cleanliness, 
neither  delicate  nor  coarse  food  will  be  requisite  to 
make  a  child  healthy.  For  the  truth  of  this  observa- 
tion we  need  only  look  at  the  children  of  rustics,  who, 
without  being  fed  according  to  medical  precepts,  are 
perfectly  strong  and  sound.  But  one,  indeed,  ought 
not  here,  as  is  too  often  the  case,  to  give  a  child  rustic 
fare,  and  at  the  same  time  to  indulge  it  with  a  soft 
feather  bed,  to  confine  it  to  the  house,  and  accustom  it 
to  idleness  ;  nor  to  employ  the  cold  bath,  while  a  child, 
in  other  respects,  is  enervated  by  most  delicate  treat- 
ment. I  cannot  repeat  too  often  what  I  have  before 
said,  that  a  principal  point  of  education  is  to  preserve 
an  uniform  tone,  and  not  to  unite  two  opposite  methods 
of  management.  It  will  be  quite  sufficient  if  a  child, 
during  this  period,  is  allowed  four  meals  every  day. 
The  only  things  which  it  ought  not  to  touch  are  spi- 
ceries,  coffee,  chocolate,  seasoning,  confections,  fat  heavy 
puddings,  and  cheese.*  For  drink  nothing  is  better 
than  water.  In  such  places  only  where  Nature  has 
denied  pure  spring  water,  I  allow  children  to  be  accus- 
tomed to  beer. 

III.    As  bodily  exercise  now  becomes  an  important 

*  I  cannot  conceive  ITufeland's  reasons  for  objecting  to  cheese, 
unless,  perchance,  it  were  less  well  made  in  the  eighteenth  than  in 
the  nineteenth  century.  I  regard  it  as  a  wholesome  article  of 
diet  for  children,  and  a  good  compromise  between  meat  and  vege- 
table diet.  —  EDITOR. 


238  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

part  of  physical  education,  let  a  child  spend  the  greater 
part  of  the  day  in  gymnastic  sports  of  every  kind,  and 
in  the  open  air,  where  they  are  always  most  service- 
able. This  strengthens  in  an  incredible  degree  ;  gives 
peculiar  activity  to  the  body,  uniform  diffusion  to  the 
powers  and  juices  ;  and  guards,  in  the  surest  manner, 
against  faults  in  the  growth  and  formation. 

IV.  The  powers  of  the  mind  must  not  be  exerted  too 
early.  It  is  a  great  prejudice,  that  people  imagine 
they  cannot  make  a  child  begin  to  learn  too  soon.  But 
it  is  certain  that  a  child  may  begin  too  soon,  when  that 
period  is  chosen  during  which  Nature  is  still  employed 
in  forming  the  bodily  powers  and  organs,  and  has  need 
of  all  their  strength  for  that  purpose.  This  period 
extends  to  the  seventh  year ;  and  if  a  child  be  obliged 
at  an  earlier  age  to  apply  to  learning,  and  be  confined 
in  a  sitting  posture,  its  body  will  be  deprived  of  the 
noblest  part  of  its  powers,  which  must  be  now  wasted 
by  the  business  of  thinking  ;  and  the  consequences  will 
be,  a  checking  of  the  growth,  imperfect  formation  of  the 
limbs,  muscular  weakness,  bad  digestion,  corrupt  juices, 
the  scrofula,  and  a  preponderance  of  the  nervous  system 
in  the  whole  machine,  which  will  become  burdensome 
during  life,  by  nervous  affections,  the  hypochondriasis, 
and  evils  of  the  like  kind.  Much,  however,  will  here 
depend  on  the  difference  of  constitution,  and  the  greater 
or  less  vigor  of  mind ;  but  I  earnestly  request  that 
parents  and  others  will  in  this  respect  pursue  a  method 
directly  contrary  to  that  usually  followed.  If  a  child 
show  an  early  disposition  for  thinking  and  learning,  one 
ought,  instead  of  straining  its  powers  the  more,  as  is 
commonly  the  case,  to  prevent  it  from  application  till  a 


PRUDENT    PHYSICAL    EDUCATION.  239 

later  period ;  for  such  premature  ripeness  is  generally 
a  disease,  at  any  rate  an  unnatural  state,  which  ought 
rather  to  be  checked  than  promoted,  unless  one  wishes 
to  breed  up  a  monster  of  erudition  rather  than  a  sound 
healthful  man. 

I  must  here  remark,  that  a  great  many  of  the  evils 
which  attend  too  early  study,  may  not  arise  so  much 
from  exerting  the  powers  of  the  mind,  as  from  confine- 
ment and  sitting,  and  from  the  corrupted  air  of  schools 
in  which  children  are  taught.  At  any  rate,  the  weaken- 
ing is  thus  doubled.  I  am  fully  persuaded  that  it  would 
be  much  less  injurious  if  children  were  made  to  perform 
their  school  business  in  the  open  air  during  the  fine 
seasons  ;  and  here,  at  the  same  time,  would  they  have 
before  them  the  book  of  Nature,  which,  supposing  that 
the  pupils  are  capable  of  reading  and  understanding  it, 
is  much  more  fit  and  proper  for  their  first  instruction 
than  all  the  books  that  ever  were  written  or  printed. 


CHAPTER  III. 

Active  and  laborious  youth. 

IT  appears  that  all  those  who  attained  to  a  great  age 
were  men  who,  in  their  youth,  had  been  much  ac- 
customed to  labor  and  fatigue  ;  such  as  soldiers, 
sailors,  and  day  laborers.  I  shall  here  mention  only 
Mittelstadt,  that  veteran  of  112,  who  in  his  fifteenth 
year  was  a  servant,  and  in  his  eighteenth  a  soldier ; 
and  who  was  present  in  all  the  Prussian  wars,  from  the 
commencement  of  the  monarchy. 

A  youth  spent  in  that  manner,  becomes  the  founda- 
tion of  a  long  and  a  strong  life,  two  ways :  partly  by 
giving  the  body  that  degree  of  strength  and  solidity 
which  is  necessary  for  its  duration ;  and  partly  by  mak- 
ing that  possible  which  principally  contributes  to  pro- 
mote happiness  and  longevity,  advancement  to  a  better 
and  more  agreeable  situation.  He  who  in  his  youth 
has  every  convenience  and  enjoyment  in  abundance 
hath  nothing  more  to  expect ;  he  is  deprived  of  ttye  best 
means  of  exciting  and  preserving  the  vital  power,  hope, 
and  the  prospect  of  a  better  condition.  If  he  be  con- 
demned then  with  increasing  years  to  poverty  and  diffi- 
culties, he  finds  himself  doubly  oppressed  ;  and  the  du- 
ration of  his  life  must  be  necessarily  shortened.  But 
in  the  transition  from  a  state  of  misery  to  one  more 
fortunate,  lies  a  continual  source  of  new  joy,  new  vigor, 


ACTIVE   AND    LABORIOUS    YOUTH.  241 

and  new  life.  In  the  like  manner,  the  passage,  with 
increasing  years,  from  a  raw  cold  climate,  to  one  more 
mild,  contributes  much  to  prolong  life  ;  as  also  the 
change  from  a  state  of  labor  to  one  more  convenient 
and  agreeable. 


16 


CHAPTER   IV. 


Abstinence  from  physical  love  in  youth,  and  a  too  early  assumption 
of  the  married  state. 


He  who  in  Pleasure's  downy  arms 
Ne'er  lost  his  health  or  yonthfal  charms, 

A  hero  lives  ;  and  justly  can 

Exclaim,  "  In  me  behold  a  man!  " 

He  prospers  like  the  slender  reed 

Whose  top  waves  gently  o'er  the  mead ; 

And  moves,  such  blessings  virtue  follow, 
In  health  and  beauty  an  Apollo. 

That  power  divine,  which  him  inspires, 
His  breast  with  noblest  passions  fires ; 

These  heavenwards  soar  with  eagle-flight, 
And  $purn  the  cold,  dark  realms  of  night. 

So  full  of  majesty,  a  god, 

Shall  earth  alone  be  his  abode  ? 
With  dignity  he  steps,  he  stands, 

And  nothing  fears  ;  for  he  commands. 

Like  drops  drawn  from  the  crystal  stream, 
His  eyes  with  pearly  brilliance  beam ; 

With  blushing  signs  of  health  o'erspread, 
His  cheeks  surpass  the  morning's  red. 

The  fairest  of  the  female  train 

For  him  shall  bloom,  nor  bloom  in  vain : 
O  happy  she  whose  lips  he  presses  ! 

0  happy  she  whom  he  caresses !         BUEGEB. 


ABSTINENCE    FROM   PHYSICAL    LOVE.  243 

THERE  was  a  time  when  the  German  youth  never 
thought  of  intimacy  with  the  other  sex  till  their  twenty- 
fourth  or  twenty-fifth  year ;  and  yet  nothing  was  then 
known  of  the  pernicious  consequences  of  this  chastity, 
nor  of  many  other  imaginary  evils  of  which  people  now 
dream :  but  these  youths,  increasing  in  strength  as  well 
as  growth,  became  men  who,  by  their  size,  excited  the 
astonishment  even  of  the  Romans. 

People  now  leave  off  at  the  period  when  these  began. 
They  imagine  they  can  never  soon  enough  throw  off 
their  chastity ;  and  young  persons,  long  before  their 
bodies  are  completely  finished,  begin  to  waste  those 
powers  which  are  destined  for  a  higher  use.  The  con- 
sequences are  evident.  These  men  become  incomplete, 
half-formed  beings  ;  and  at  the  period  when  our  ances- 
tors began  to  employ  those  powers,  they,  in  them,  are 
generally  exhausted:  they  feel  nothing  but  dejection 
and  misery  in  their  weakness;  and  a  stimulus  of  the 
utmost  importance  for  seasoning  life  is  to  them  for  ever 
lost. 

It  is  incredible  how  far  prejudice  in  this  respect  may 
be  carried,  especially  when  it  flatters  our  inclination.  I 
once  knew  a  man  who  seriously  believed  that  there  was 
no  poison  more  prejudicial  to  the  human  body  than 
continence,  and  the  consequence  was,  that  he  was  an 
old  man  in  his  twentieth  year,  and  in  his  twenty-fifth 
died  of  old  age. 

The  present  age  has  fallen  so  much  into  the  taste  of 
the  times  of  chivalry,  that  all  romances  must  now  as- 
sume that  form  in  order  to  please;  and  one,  indeed, 
cannot  help  admiring  the  great,  noble,  and  resolute 
manner  of  thinking  and  acting  of  these  old  Germans. 


244  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

It  appears  that  the  more  sensible  we  are  how  far  we 
have  degenerated  from  them,  the  more  we  are  excited 
by  their  example,  and  the  more  we  are  inflamed  with  a 
desire  to  imitate  their  conduct.  But  what  a  happiness 
would  it  be  if  we  did  not  think  merely  of  the  object, 
but  of  the  means  to  obtain  it.  That  by  which  these 
people  acquired  so  much  courage,  so  great  powers  both 
of  body  and  mind,  their  bold,  firm,  and  resolute  char- 
acter, which  made  them  real  men  in  the  utmost  sense  of 
the  word,  was,  in  particular,  their  strict  continence. 
The  youth  of  these  men  was  destined  to  great  exploits 
and  undertakings,  not  to  voluptuousness  and  dissipa- 
tion ;  the  physical  propensity  to  love  did  not  among 
them  sink  into  mere  animal  enjoyment,  but  was  exalted 
to  a  moral  incitement  to  noble  and  heroic  actions.  Each 
bore  in  his  heart  the  image  of  his  beloved  object, 
whether  real  or  imaginary ;  and  this  romantic  love,  this 
indissoluble  attachment,  was  the  shield  of  his  continence 
and  virtue,  strengthened  the  powers  of  his  body,  and 
communicated  to  his  mind  courage  and  unalterable 
resolution,  by  continually  directing  its  attention  to  his 
fair  one  smiling  to  him  at  a  distance,  and  whose  favor 
could  be  gained  only  by  glorious  achievements.  How- 
ever romantic  these  notions  may  be,  I  find,  on  closer 
examination,  great  wisdom  in  this  use  of  physical  love, 
one  of  the  strongest  motives  by  which  human  nature  is 
actuated.  How  widely  different  has  the  case  become 
among  us !  This  propensity,  which  by  prudent  man- 
agement may  be  made  the  germ  of  the  most  exalted 
virtue,  of  the  greatest  heroism,  has  degenerated  into 
whining  sensibility,  or  mere  sensual  gratification,  which 
people  enjoy  prematurely,  and  even  to  satiety;  the 


ABSTINENCE   FROM   PHYSICAL    LOVE.  245 

passion  of  love,  which  in  those  periods  was  a  security 
against  dissipation,  is  at  present  the  source  of  the  great- 
est; the  virtue  of  chastity,  the  principal  foundation 
without  doubt  of  moral  firmness  and  manliness  of  char- 
acter, has  become  a  subject  of  ridicule,  and  is  decried 
as  old-fashioned  pedantry ;  and  what  ought  to  be  the 
last  and  sweetest  reward  of  toil,  labor,  and  danger,  has 
become  a  flower  which  every  stripling  crops  by  the 
way.  Why  does  Nature  excite  in  our  bosom  this  sigh- 
ing after  union,  this  all-powerful,  irresistible  propensity 
to  love  ?  Not,  truly,  to  afford  subjects  for  romance,  or 
to  make  a  figure  in  the  ecstatic  raptures  of  poetry ;  but 
that  it  may  serve  as  an  indissoluble  band  to  unite  two 
hearts :  to  lay  the  grounds  for  a  ha*ppy  generation ; 
and  that,  by  this  magic  tie,  our  existence  may  be  con- 
nected with  the  first  and  the  most  sacred  of  all  duties. 
How  fortunate  would  it  be  were  we  here  to  imitate  the 
ancient  method,  and  never  to  pull  the  fruit  till  we  had 
planted ! 

At  present,  we  hear  a  great  deal  of  strength  and 
strong  men  :  but  I  will  believe  nothing  of  it  as  long  as 
I  see  that  they  have  not  strength  enough  to  subdue 
their  passions ;  for,  that  is  the  only  cause  of  triumph, 
as  well  as  the  only  sign  of  mental  strength  :  and  chas- 
tity is  the  school  in  which  youth  ought  to  be  exercised, 
and  to  form  themselves  for  becoming  strong  men. 

We  in  general  find,  in  the  old  world,  that  all  those 
from  whom  any  thing  great  or  glorious  was  expected, 
were  obliged  to  restrain  physical  love.  So  much  were 
people  then  convinced  that  Venus  absorbs  the  whole 
powers  of  man,  and  that  those  given  up  to  dissipation 
could  never  attain  an  exalted  position. 


CHAPTER    V. 

Happy  married  state. 

IT  is  one  of  the  falsest  and  most  pernicious  of  preju- 
dices, that  marriage  is  an  invention  merely  political  and 
conventional.  It  is  much  rather  one  of  the  most  essen- 
tial parts  of  the  destination  of  man,  both  for  the  individ- 
ual and  the  whole ;  and  an  establishment  absolutely 
necessary  for  the*  education  of  mankind.  By  marriage 
I  understand,  a  firm,  sacred  union  of  two  persons,  for 
the  purpose  of  mutual  support,  and  for  giving  origin  to 
and  educating  children.  And,  in  this  intimate  union, 
founded  on  so  important  an  object,  lies,  in  my  opinion, 
the  principal  grounds  of  domestic  as  well  as  public 
felicity;  since,  in  the  first  place,  it  is  indispensably 
requisite  for  the  moral  perfection  of  mankind.  By  this 
close  connection  of  two  beings,  this  association  of  one's 
interest  with  that  of  another,  is  selfishness,  the  most 
dangerous  enemy  of  all  virtue,  best  subdued ;  and  man 
always  more  inclined  to  humanity  and  compassion  for 
his  fellow-creatures,  and  still  brought  nearer  to  his  true 
state  of  moral  exaltation.  His  wife  and  his  children 
form  an  indissoluble  bond,  which  unites  him  to  the  rest 
of  mankind,  and  to  the  good  of  the  whole :  his  heart  is 
always  warmed  by  the  sweet  sensation  of  matrimonial 
and  parental  tenderness,  and  defended  from  that  dead- 
ening coldness  which  so  easily  overcomes  the  man  who 


HAPPY   MARRIED    STATE.  247 

leads  a  solitary  life  ;  and  the  endearing  cares  of  a  father 
impose  on  him  duties  which  accustom  him  to  order, 
industry,  and  habits  of  prudence.  His  passion  for  the 
sex  is  thereby  ennobled,  and,  from  a  mere  animal  in- 
stinct, converted  into  one  of  the  highest  moral  motives 
of  action,  and  violent  passions,  ill-humor,  and  bad  cus- 
toms, are  thus  best  eradicated.  Hence  arises  a  very 
fortunate  influence  over  the  whole  and  the  general  good ; 
so  that  I  can,  with  perfect  confidence,  affirm,  that  happy 
marriages  are  the  most  important  supports  of  a  State, 
and  of  public  peace  and  felicity.  A  bachelor  always 
remains  a  mere  egotist ;  restless  and  unsteady,  a  prey 
to  selfish  humors  and  passions ;  less  interested  for 
mankind,  for  his  country,  and  the  State,  than  for  himself. 
He  is  overcome  by  a  false  sentiment  of  liberty,  which 
prevents  him  from  entering  into  wedlock ;  and  this 
sentiment  is  still  nourished  and  strengthened  by  the 
condition  in  which  he  lives.  What  can  tend  more  to 
produce  a  fondness  for  change,  sedition,  and  revolutions, 
than  an  increase  of  unmarried  citizens  ?  How  different 
is  the  case  with  the  married  !  That  dependence  on  the 
other  half,  necessary  in  marriage,  accustoms  one  con- 
tinually to  a  dependence  on  the  laws  ;  regard  for  one's 
wife  and  children  obliges  one  to  be  regular  and  indus- 
trious :  by  his  children,  a  man  is  attached  closely  to  the 
State ;  its  interest  and  prosperity  by  these  means  be- 
come his  own;  or,  as  Bacon  expresses  it,  he  who  is 
married  and  has  children,  has  given  pledges  to  the  State : 
he  is  a  bondsman,  a  true  citizen,  and  a  real  patriot. 
But,  what  is  still  more,  a  foundation  is  here  laid,  not 
only  for  the  happiness  of  the  present  generation,  but 
for  that  of  the  future  also ;  as  it  is  the  matrimonial 


248  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

union  only  that  produces  to  the  State  good  moral  citi- 
zens, accustomed  from  their  youth  to  regularity  and  an 
observance  of  their  duty.  One  must  not  imagine  that 
the  State  itself  can  supply  this  formation  of  the  manners, 
this  education  which  all- wise  Nature  hath  connected  with 
the  hearts  of  a  father  and  a  mother. 

I  shall  now  return  to  my  principal  object,  to  point 
out  the  beneficial  influence  which  marriage  has  on  the 
physical  good  of  mankind.  With  the  utmost  propriety 
may  it  be  classed  among  those  means  which  tend  to 
prolong  life  ;  and  my  reasons  are  as  follow  :  — 

1st.  Marriage  is  the  only  means  to  regulate  love,  and 
to  direct  it  to  its  proper  object.  It  equally  prevents 
dissipation,  and  cold  and  unnatural  indifference.  How- 
ever much  I  have  recommended  continence  in  youth, 
convinced  that  it  is  indispensably  necessary  to  promote 
long  life,  I  am  convinced  also  that  there  are  certain  years 
of  manhood  when  it  is  as  prejudicial  to  suppress  by  vio- 
lence the  propensities  of  nature,  as  it  is  to  yield  to  them 
before  the  proper  period.  It  is  required  by  the  general 
law  of  harmony.  No  power  in  us  must  remain  totally 
unexpanded ;  each  must  be  exercised  in  moderation. 

2nd.  We  are  told  by  experience,  that  all  those  who 
attained  to  a  very  remarkable  age  were  married. 

3rd.  The  married  state  promotes  domestic  joy,  which 
is  the  purest,  the  most  uniform,  and  the  least  wasting  of 
all.  It  is  undoubtedly  that  which  is  best  suited  to 
physical  as  well  as  moral  health,  and  which  can,  with 
the  greatest  certainty,  preserve  the  mind  in  that  happy 
mean  state  most  favorable  to  longevity.  It  tends  to 
moderate  overstrained  hope  and  enthusiastic  speculation, 
as  well  as  excessive  care.  Every  thing,  by  the  par- 


HAPPY   MARRIED    STATE.  249 

ticipation  of  another  being,  by  the  intimate  connection 
of  our  existence  with  that  of  another,  is  rendered  milder 
and  more  supportable.  To  this  may  be  added,  that 
tender  charge,  that  heaven  on  earth,  secured  by  nothing 
so  much  as  wedded  love,  which  lies  in  the  possession  of 
healthful  and  well-educated  children  ;  that  actual  reno- 
vation, reserved  for  us  by  their  company,  of  which 
Cornaro,  at  the  age  of  eighty,  has  given  so  affecting  a 
picture. 

We  go  out  of  the  world  by  the  same  changes  almost 
as  those  by  which  we  enter  it.  We  begin  as  children ; 
as  children  we  leave  off.  We  return,  at  last,  to  the 
same  weak  and  helpless  condition  as  our  first.  We 
must  have  people  to  lift  us,  to  carry  us,  to  provide  us 
nourishment,  and  even  to  feed  us.  We  again  have  need 
of  parents.  And  how  wise  the  establishment !  We 
find  them  again  in  our  children,  who  now  take  delight 
in  repaying  a  part  of  that  kindness  which  we  showed  to 
them.  Children  now  step,  as  it  were,  into  the  place  of 
parents,  while  our  weakness  transposes  us  into  the 
place  of  children.  The  venerable  oak,  on  the  other 
hand,  does  not  enjoy  the  benefit  of  such  a  wise  regula- 
tion. The  old  decayed  trunk  stands  alone  and  for- 
gotten, and  in  vain  endeavors  to  procure  from  foreign 
aid  that  support  and  assistance  which  can  be  the  work 
only  of  natural  affection  and  the  bonds  of  nature. 

Do  what  thou  canst,  exert  thy  utmost  power  ; 
Yet  still  alone  thou'lt  stand  till  thy  last  hour, 
When  Nature's  hand,  almighty  and  divine, 
To  the  grand  whole  thy  lifeless  mass  shall  join. 

SCIIILLBK. 


CHAPTER    VI. 

Sleep. 

I  HAVE  already  shown  that  sleep  is  one  of  the  wisest 
regulations  of  Nature,  to  check  and  moderate,  at  fixed 
periods,  the  incessant  and  impetuous  stream  of  vital 
consumption.  It  forms,  as  it  were,  stations  for  our 
physical  and  moral  existence ;  and  we  thereby  obtain 
the  happiness  of  being  daily  reborn,  and  of  passing 
every  morning,  through  a  state  of  annihilation,  into  a 
new  and  refreshed  life.  Without  this  continual  change, 
this  incessant  renovation,  how  wretched  and  insipid 
would  not  life  be;  and  how  depressed  our  mental  as 
well  as  physical  sensation !  The  greatest  philosopher 
of  the  present  age  says,  therefore,  with  justice :  Take 
from  man  hope  and  sleep  and  he  will  be  the  most 
wretched  being  on  earth. 

How  unwisely  then  do  those  act  who  imagine  that  by 
taking  as  little  sleep  as  possible  they  prolong  their  ex- 
istence. They  obtain  their  end  neither  in  intensive  nor 
extensive  life.  They  will,  indeed,  spend  more  hours 
with  their  eyes  open  ;  but  they  will  never  enjoy  life  in 
the  proper  sense  of  the  word,  nor  that  freshness  and 
energy  of  mind  which  are  the  certain  consequences  of 
sound  and  sufficient  sleep,  and  which  stamp  a  like  char- 
acter on  all  our  undertakings  and  actions. 

But  sufficient  sleep  is  necessary,  not  only  for  inten- 


RESTORATIVE   POWER    OF    SLEEP.  251 

sive  life,  but  also  for  extensive,  in  regard  to  its  support 
and  duration.  Nothing  accelerates  consumption  so 
much,  nothing  wastes  us  so  much  before  the  time,  and 
renders  us  old,  as  a  want  of  it.  The  physical  effects  of 
sleep  are,  that  it  retards  all  the  vital  movements,  col- 
lects the  vital  power,  and  restores  what  has  been  lost 
in  the  course  of  the  day ;  and  that  it  separates  from  us 
what  is  useless  and  pernicious.  It  is,  as  it  were,  a 
daily  crisis,  during  which  all  secretions  are  performed 
in  the  greatest  tranquillity,  and  with  the  utmost  per- 
fection. 

Continued  watching  unites  all  the  properties  destruc- 
tive of  life ;  incessant  wasting  of  the  vital  power  and  of 
the  organs,  acceleration  of  consumption,  and  prevention 
of  restoration. 

We  must  not,  however,  on  this  account,  believe  that 
too  long  continued  sleep  is  one  of  the  best  means  for 
preserving  life.  Long  sleep  accumulates  too  great  an 
abundance  of  pernicious  juices,  makes  the  organs  too 
flaccid  and  unfit  for  use,  and  in  this  manner  can  shorten 
life  also. 

In  a  word,  no  one  should  sleep  less  than  six,  nor 
more  than  eight  hours.  This  may  be  established  as  a 
general  rule. 

To  those  who  wish  to  enjoy  sound  and  peaceful  re- 
pose, and  to  obtain  the  whole  end  of  sleep,  I  recom- 
mend the  following  observations :  — 

1st.  The  place  where  one  sleeps  must  be  quiet  and 
obscure.  The  less  our  senses  are  acted  upon  by  exter- 
nal impressions,  the  more  perfectly  can  the  soul  rest. 
One  may  from  this  see  how  improper  the  custom  is  of 


252  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

having  a  candle  burning  in  one's  bed-chamber  during 
the  night. 

2nd.  People  ought  always  to  Deflect,  that  their  bed- 
chamber is  a  place  in  which  they  pass  a  great  part  of 
their  lives ;  at  least  they  do  not  remain  in  any  place  so 
long  in  the  same  situation.  It  is  of  the  utmost  impor- 
tance, therefore,  that  this  place  should  contain  pure 
sound  air.  A  sleeping  apartment  must,  consequently, 
be  roomy  and  high ;  neither  inhabited  nor  heated  dur- 
ing the  day ;  and  the  windows  ought  always  to  be  kept 
open,  except  in  the  night  time. 

3d.  One  should  eat  little,  and  only  cold  food  for  sup- 
per, and  always  some  hours  before  going  to  bed. 

4th.  When  abed,  one  should  lie  not  in  a  forced  or 
constrained  posture,  but  almost  horizontal;  the  head 
excepted,  which  ought  to  be  a  little  raised.  Nothing  is 
more  prejudicial  than  to  lie  in  bed  half-sitting.  The 
body  then  forms  an  angle ;  circulation  in  the  stomach 
is  checked,  and  the  spine  is  always  very  much  com- 
pressed. By  this  custom  one  of  the  principal  ends 
of  sleep,  a  free  and  uninterrupted  circulation  of  the 
blood,  is  defeated ;  and,  in  infancy  and  youth,  deform- 
ity and  crookedness  are  often  its  consequences. 

5th.  All  the  cares  and  burden  of  the  day  must  be 
laid  aside  with  one's  clothes ;  none  of  them  must  be  car- 
ried to  bed  with  us ;  and,  in  this  respect,  one  by  custom 
may  obtain  very  great  power  over  the  thoughts.  I  am 
acquainted  with  no  practice  more  destructive  than  that 
of  studying  in  bed,  and  of  reading  till  one  falls  asleep. 
By  these  means  the  soul  is  put  into  too  great  activity, 
at  a  period  when  every  thing  conspires  to  allow  it  per- 


RESTORATIVE    POWER     OF     SLEEP.  253 

feet  rest ;  and  it  is  natural  that  the  ideas,  thus  excited, 
should  wander  and  float  through  the  brain  during  the 
whole  night.  It  is  not  enough  to  sleep  physically; 
man  must  sleep  also  spiritually.  Such  a  disturbed 
sleep  is  as  insufficient  as  its  opposite,  —  that  is,  when 
our  spiritual  part  sleeps,  but  not  our  corporeal :  such, 
for  example,  as  sleep  in  a  jolting  carriage  on  a  journey. 
6th.  One  circumstance,  in  particular,  I  must  not  here 
omit  to  mention.  Many  believe  that  it  is  entirely  the 
same  if  one  sleeps  these  seven  hours  either  in  the  day 
or  the  night  time.  People  give  themselves  up,  there- 
fore, at  night,  as  long  as  they  think  proper,  either  to 
study  or  pleasure  ;  and  imagine  that  they  make  every 
thing  even  when  they  sleep  in  the  forenoon  those  hours 
which  they  sat  up  after  midnight.  But  I  must  reqaest 
every  one,  who  regards  his  health,  to  beware  of  so  se- 
ducing an  error.  It  is  certainly  not  the  same,  whether 
one  sleeps  seven  hours  by  day  or  by  night ;  and  two 
hours  sound  sleep  before  midnight  are  of  more  benefit 
to  the  body  than  four  hours  in  the  day.  My  reasons 
are  as  follow :  — 

KThat  period  of  twenty-four  hours,  formed  by  the 
regular  revolution  of  our  earth,  in  which  all  its  inhabi- 
tants partake,  is  particularly  distinguished  in  the  physi- 
cal economy  of  man.  This  regular  period  is  apparent 
in  all  diseases  ;  and  all  the  other  small  periods,  so  won- 
derful in  our  physical  history,  are  by  it  in  reality  deter- 
mined. It  is  as  it  were,  the  unity  of  our  natural 
chronologyj  Now,  it  is  observed,  that  the  more  the 
end  of  these  periods  coincides  with  the  conclusion  of 
the  day,  the  more  is  the  pulsation  accelerated :  and  a 
feverish  state  is  produced,  or  the  so  called  evening 


254  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG   LIFE. 

fever,  to  which  every  man  is  subject.  The  accession 
of  new  chyle  to  the  blood,  may,  in  all  probability,  con- 
tribute something  towards  this  fever,  though  it  is  not 
the  only  cause  ;  for  we  find  it  in  sick  people  who  have 
neither  eat  nor  drunk.  It  is  more  owing,  without 
doubt,  to  the  absence  of  the  sun,  and  to  that  revolution 
in  the  atmosphere  which  is  connected  with  it.  This 
evening  fever  is  the  reason  why  nervous  people  find 
themselves  more  fit  for  labour  at  night  than  during  the 
day.  To  become  active,  they  must  first  have  an  arti- 
ficial stimulus  ;  and  the  evening  fever  supplies  the  place 
of  wine.  But  one  may  easily  perceive  that  this  is  an 
unnatural  state ;  and  the  consequences  are  the  same  as 
those  of  every  simple  fever:  lassitude,  sleep,  and  a 
crisis,  by  the  perspiration  which  takes  place  during  that 
sleep.  It  may  with  propriety  therefore  be  said,  that  all 
men  every  night  have  a  critical  perspiration,  more  per- 
ceptible in  some,  and  less  so  in  others,  by  which  what- 
ever useless  or  pernicious  particles  have  been  imbibed 
by  our  bodies,  or  created  in  them,  during  the  day,  are 
secreted  and  removed.  This  daily  crisis,  necessary  to 
every  man,  is  particularly  requisite  for  his  support; 
and  the  proper  period  of  it  is  when  the  fever  has  at- 
tained to  its  highest  degree,  that  is,  the  period  when 
the  sun  is  in  the  nadir,  consequently  midnight.  What 
do  those,  then,  who  disobey  this  voice  of  Nature  which 
calls  for  rest  at  the  above  period,  and  who  employ  this 
fever,  which  should  be  the  means  of  secreting  and  puri- 
fying our  juices  to  enable  them  to  increase  their 
activity  and  exertion?  By  neglecting  the  critical 
period,  they  destroy  the  whole  crisis  of  so  much  im- 
portance ;  and,  though  they  go  to  bed  towards  morning, 


PROPER  PERIOD  OF  SLEEP.         255 

cannot  certainly  obtain,  on  that  account,  the  full  benefit 
of  sleep,  as  the  critical  period  is  past.  They  will  never 
have  a  perfect,  but  an  imperfect  crisis  ;  and  what  that 
means  is  well  known  to  physicans.  Their  bodies  also 
will  never  be  completely  purified.  How  clearly  is  this 
proved  by  the  infirmities,  rheumatic  pains,  and  swollen 
feet,  the  unavoidable  consequences  of  such  lucubration. 

Besides,  the  eyes  suffer  more  by  this  custom;  for 
one  labors  then  the  whole  summer  through  with  candle- 
light, which  is  not  necessary  for  those  who  employ 
the  morning. 

And,  lastly,  those  who  spend  the  night  in  labor,  and 
the  morning  in  sleep,  lose  that  time  which  is  the  most 
beautiful  and  the  best  fitted  for  labor.  After  every 
sleep  we  are  renovated  in  the  properest  sense  of  the 
word ;  we  are,  in  the  morning,  always  taller  than  at 
night ;  we  have  then  more  pliability,  powers,  and 
juices  ;  in  a  word,  more  of  the  characteristics  of  youth ; 
while,  at  night,  our  bodies  are  drier  and  more  ex- 
hausted, and  the  properties  of  old  age  then  prevail. 
One,  therefore,  may  consider  each  day  as  a  sketch, 
in  miniature,  of  human  We,  in  which  the  morning 
represents  youth ;  noon,  manhood ;  and  evening,  old 
age.  Who  would  not  then  employ  the  youthful  part 
of  each  day  for  labor,  rather  than  begin  his  work  in 
the  evening,  the  period  of  old  age  and  debility  ?  In 
the  morning,  all  nature  appears  freshest  and  most  en- 
gaging ;  the  mind  at  that  period  is  also  clearest,  and 
possesses  most  strength  and  energy.  It  is  not,  as  at 
night,  worn  out,  and  rendered  unequal,  by  the  multi- 
farious impressions  of  the  day,  by  business  and  fatigue : 
it  is  then  more  original,  and  possesses  its  natural 


256  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG   LIFE. 

powers.  This  is  the  period  of  new  mental  creation, 
of  clear  conceptions  and  exalted  ideas.  Never  does 
man  enjoy  the  sensation  of  his  own  existence  so  purely 
and  in  so  great  perfection  as  in  a  beautiful  morning. 
He  who  neglects  this  period,  neglects  the  youth  of  his 
life. 

All  those  who  attained  to  a  great  age  were  fond  of 
early  rising ;  and  John  Wesley,  the  founder  of  the 
Methodists,  an  original  and  singular  man,  was  so 
convinced  of  the  necessity  of  this  custom,  that  he 
made  it  a  point  of  religion  to  get  up  early,  and  by 
these  means  lived  to  the  age  of  eighty-eight.  His 
motto,  which  as  a  true  maxim  of  life  I  shall  here  re- 
commend, was :  — 

To  go  early  to  bed,  and  early  to  rise, 

Will  make  a  maa  healthy,  wealthy,  and  wise. 


CHAPTER  VII. 

Bodily  exercise. 

"  WHEN  I  consider  the  physical  structure  of  man," 
said  the  great  Frederick,  "  it  appears  to  me  as  if  Nature 
had  formed  us  rather  to  be  postillions  than  sedentary 
men  of  letters."  And,  without  doubt,  though  this  ex- 
pression be  strong,  it  contains  a  great  deal  of  truth. 
Man  is,  and  always  remains,  a  middle  being,  that 
incessantly  fluctuates  between  the  brute  and  the  angel ; 
and  as  much  as  he  would  deviate  from  his  higher  des- 
tination, did  he  continue  the  mere  animal,  as  much 
does  he  offend  against  his  present  destination  when  he 
wishes  to  be  merely  spirit  —  to  think  only  and  to  per- 
ceive. He  must  exercise  his  animal  and  spiritual 
powers  in  the  like  degree,  if  he  be  desirous  to  accom- 
plish perfectly  the  object  for  which  he  was  created ; 
and  this,  in  regard  to  the  duration  of  life,  is  of  the 
utmost  importance.  Harmony  in  the  movements  is 
the  grand  foundation  on  which  health,  uniformity  of 
restoration,  and  the  duration  of  the  body,  depend  ;  and 
these  certainly  cannot  take  place  if  we  merely  sit  and 
think.  The  propensity  to  bodily  movement  is,  in  man, 
as  great  as  the  propensity  to  eating  and  drinking.  Let 
us  only  look  at  a  child.  Sitting  still  is  to  it  the  great- 
est punishment.  And  the  faculty  of  sitting  the  whole 
day,  and  not  feeling  the  least  desire  for  moving,  is  cer- 
17 


258  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

tainly  an  unnatural  and  diseased  state.  We  are  taught 
by  experience,  that  those  men  attained  to  the  greatest 
age,  who  accustomed  themselves  to  strong  and  inces- 
sant exercise  in  the  open  air. 

I  consider  it,  therefore,  as  an  indispensable  law  of 
longevity,  that  one  should  exercise,  at  least,  an  hour 
every  day,  in  the  open  air.  The  most  healthful  time 
is  before  meals,  or  from  three  to  four  hours  after. 

In  this  respect,  besides  small  journeys,  and  excur- 
sions on  horseback,  moderate  dancing,  and  other  gym- 
nastic exercises  are  of  great  service  :  and  it  is  much  to 
be  wished  that  we  here  paid  more  attention  to  imitate 
the  ancients,  who  managed  scientifically  this  promoter 
of  health,  and  suffered  no  external  circumstances  to 
prevent  them  from  using  it.  It  is  of  most  benefit  when 
not  merely  the  body,  but  the  soul  also,  is  exercised  and 
kept  awake  at  the  same  time.  A  walk,  therefore,  to 
answer  fully  its  object,  must  be  directed  to  a  quarter 
where  the  prospects  are  always  agreeable,  and  to  a 
certain  term  or  spot. 


CHAPTER    VIII. 

The  enjoyment  of  free  air.    Moderate  temperature  of  warmth. 

THE  enjoyment  of  free  air  may  be  considered  as  a 
nourishment  equally  necessary  for  our  existence  as 
eating  and  drinking.  Pure  air  is  certainly  the  great- 
est means  of  strengthening  and  supporting  life ;  while 
confined  and  corrupted  air  is  its  most  subtle  and  deadly 
poison. 

From  this  may  be  deduced  the  following  practical 
rules  :  — 

1st.  Suffer  no  day  to  pass  without  enjoying  the  pure 
open  air  beyond  the  boundaries  of  a  town  or  city 
Consider  your  walk  not  merely  as  the  means  of  ex- 
ercise, but,  in  a  particular  manner,  as  the  enjoyment 
of  the  purest  vital  nourishment,  which  is  indispensably 
necessary  above  all  to  those  who  are  much  confined 
to  their  apartments.  Besides  this  advantage,  one  ob- 
tains that  also  of  making  one's  self,  by  such  daily  en- 
joyment of  air,  acquainted  and  familiar  with  a  free 
atmosphere ;  and  people  are  thus  secured  against  one 
of  the  greatest  evils  that  usually  afflict  mankind,  I 
mean  too  much  sensibility  in  regard  to  all  impressions 
and  variations  of  the  weather.  This  is  one  of  the 
most  abundant  sources  of  disease  ;  and  there  is  no 
other  method  of  counteracting  it,  but  to  harden  one's 
self  by  daily  exposure  to  the  open  air. 


260  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG-   LIFE. 

Lastly.  By  this  custom  one  will  obtain  infinite  ad- 
vantage in  regard  to  the  eyes  ;  for  it  is  certain  that  a 
great  cause  of  weak  eyes  and  short-sightedness  are 
the  four  walls  within  which  we  are  accustomed  to  live 
from  our  infancy,  and  by  which  the  eyes  at  length 
lose  their  whole  power  of  seeing  remote  objects  dis- 
tinctly. The  best  proof  of  this  is,  that  such  weakness 
of  the  eyes  is  to  be  found  only  in  cities,  and  not  in  the 
country. 

2nd.  One  should  endeavor,  wherever  it  is  possible, 
to  live  high.  Those  who  have  a  regard  for  their  health, 
at  least  in  cities,  ought  not  to  inhabit  the  ground-floor. 
Let  the  windows  be  opened  daily.  Ventilators,  or 
chimneys,  are  the  best  means  for  purifying  the  foul 
atmosphere  of  confined  apartments.  People  ought 
not  to  sleep  in  rooms  which  have  been  inhabited  the 
whole  day ;  and  the  windows  of  bed-chambers  should 
be  always  kept  open  in  the  daytime. 

I  must  here  add  one  remark  of  the  utmost  impor- 
tance for  the  prolongation  of  life.  The  air  in  which 
one  lives  should  be  kept  in  a  moderate  degree  of  tem- 
perature. It  is  much  better  to  live  in  air  too  cool 
than  too  hot ;  for  heat  accelerates,  in  an  extraordinary 
degree,  the  stream  of  vital  consumption,  as  is  proved 
by  the  shorter  lives  of  those  who  inhabit  warm  coun- 
tries ;  and  many  people  create  artificially  such  a  cli- 
mate by  means  of  their  hot  apartments.  The  tempe- 
rature of  the  air  in  an  apartment  should  never  exceed 
66°  of  Fahrenheit's  thermometer. 


CHAPTER  IX. 

Rural  and  country  life. 

FORTUNATE  are  they  to  whose  lot  it  has  fallen  to 
remain  near  and  true  to  their  parent  Earth ;  and  to 
find  their  happiness,  labor,  and  destination  in  immedi- 
ate intercourse  with  Nature.  They  reside  at  the  real 
source  of  eternal  youth,  health,  and  felicit  ;  both  body 
and  soul  enjoy  there  the  utmost  harmony  and  well- 
being.  Simplicity,  cheerfulness,  innocence,  and  con- 
tentment, accompany  them  through  life;  and  they 
attain  to  the  utmost  term  which  it  is  capable  of  reach- 
ing with  its  present  organization.  I  cannot  refrain, 
therefore,  from  inserting  here  what  Herder  has  said  on 
this  subject :  — 

The  resolution  of  my  friend  to  change 
His  walled  prison  for  a  rural  seat 
I  much  applaud  —  why  should  we  foolishly 
Pile  up  in  lofty  towers  the  hard  hewn  rock  ? 
To  fright  us  with  their  sudden  fall,  or  hide 
From  our  dark  eyes     e  cheering  face  of  heaven  ! 
Not  so  in  former  days  lived  the  young  world, 
In  innocence  and  peace  ;  free  from  such  folly, 
'Midst  rural  scenes  —  there  harmless  mirth  prevails, 
And  fills  the  breast  with  never-ceasing  joy  : 
There  we  behold  the  wide-expanded  heaven  ; 
No  neighbor  robs  us  of  the  light  of  day ; 


262  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

And  from  the  clear  fresh  spring  Apollo  bids  ua 

Assuage  our  thirst  with  his  own  liquor. 

O  did  but  men  know  what  is  happiness  ! 

Our  mother  Nature  ne'er  within  dark  cities, 

Or  gloomy  walls  and  castles,  it  confined. 

It  on  the  plain  blooms  equally  for  all. 

Those  find  it  oft  who  seek  it  not ;  and  he 

Who  spurns  base  ore  will  it  enjoy  —  his  treasure 

Is  what  the  earth  presents  —  in  the  bright  stream 

He  sees  his  silver ;  and  his  gold  shoots  up 

In  yellow  corn,  or  smiles  from  fruitful  trees. 

He  hears  his  concert  in  the  shady  grove ; 

And  there  his  chorus,  free  at  will  to  range, 

Joins  in  the  mirthful  or  the  pensive  strain. 

Far  otherwise  within  the  town  confined  : 

The  captive  songster  in  its  cage  complains  ! 

The  slave  who  feeds  it  thinks  it  sings  alone 

To  please  its  master ;  but  with  every  note 

It  bids  its  tyrant  give  it  liberty  — 

Nature  delights  in  rural  scenes  :  and  Art, 

Her  imitator,  there  must  follow  her 

With  timid  steps.     Of  foliage  ever  green 

Behold  yon  palace,  arched  with  thick  woven  boughs  ! 

Where  thou  mayst  sit,  like  Persia's  boasted  lord 

In  halls  of  cedar —  and  'midst  peace  enjoy, 

What  he  ne'er  knows,  sound,  sweet,  refreshing  sleep. 

Great  cities  are  great  plagues !     There  native  joy 

Flies  from  man's  breast,  and  makes  him  pleasure  seek 

In  Art  alone  —  there  every  thing  by  paint 

Is  seen  disguised  —  the  countenance  and  walls  — 

Each  action,  word,  and  even  the  very  heart  — 

All  there  consists  of  costly  wood  or  stone  ; 

And  even  the  owners  seem  as  hard  as  these. 

O  rural  life,  'midst  poverty  how  rich ! 

When  hunger  bids,  there  thou  mayst  nobly  feast 

On  what  each  season  for  thy  use  brings  forth, 

In  rich  variety.     The  plough  thy  table  ; 

And  a  green  leaf,  by  way  of  dish,  supports 


RURAL   AND    COUNTRY  LIFE.  263 

Thy  meal  of  fruit.    A  homely  wooden  jug 
Draws  up  refreshing  drink  from  the  pure  stream, 
Which,  free  from  poison,  pours  out  health  alone, 
And  with  soft  murmur  thee  to  sleep  invites  : 
"While,  in  the  air,  the  lark  high-soaring  sings  — 
Now  mounting  up,  again  descending  low  — 
Until,  at  length,  it  drops  into  its  nest, 
Just  at  thy  foot,  between  two  furrows  placed. 


If  one,  indeed,  be  desirous  of  sketching  out,  accord- 
ing to  theoretical  principles,  the  idea  of  a  life  condu- 
cive to  health  and  longevity,  one  must  recur  to  that 
presented  to  us  by  a  country  life.  Nowhere  are  all  the 
requisites  for  that  purpose  so  perfectly  united  as  here  ; 
and  nowhere  does  every  thing  in  and  around  mankind 
labor  so  powerfully  to  promote  health  and  longe/ity. 
The  enjoyment  of  pure,  sound  air ;  simple  and  frugal 
food ;  daily  and  strong  exercise  without  doors ;  estab- 
lished regularity  in  all  the  vital  operations ;  the  beauti- 
ful prospect  of  simple  Nature  ;  and  a  frame  of  internal 
peace,  cheerfulness,  and  serenity,  which  by  these  means 
are  diffused  throughout  the  mind  —  what  sources  of 
vital  restoration !  Besides,  a  country  life  is,  in  a  par- 
ticular manner,  capable  of  giving  that  disposition  which 
is  contrary  to  the  passionate,  overstrained,  and  eccen- 
tric ;  and  the  more  so  as  it  removes  us  from  the  dissipa- 
tion, corruption,  and  worthlessness  of  the  town,  which 
tend  always  to  nourish  the  passions.  It  consequently 
preserves,  both  internally  and  externally,  peace  of 
mind  and  equanimity,  which  are  such  great  supports  to 
life.  It  inspires  us  with  cheerfulness  and  hope,  and 
increases  our  enjoyments  in  general,  but  without  vio- 
lence or  passion,  and  moderated  by  the  softest  tone  of 


264  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

Nature.  It  needs  excite  no  wonder,  then,  that,  accord- 
ing to  experience,  instances  of  the  greatest  age  are  to 
be  found  in  rural  life  only. 

It  is  a  melancholy  reflection,  that  this  kind  of  life, 
the  earliest  and  most  natural  state  of  man,  should  at 
present  be  so  little  esteemed  that  the  fortunate  farmer 
even  quits  it  till  his  son  becomes  a  studious  rake  ;  and 
the  proportion  between  countrymen  and  citizens  seems 
daily  to  be  diminished.  It  certainly  would  be  much 
better  for  the  happiness  of  individuals,  as  well  as  of  the 
whole,  if  the  greater  part  of  the  penknives  and  scissors 
now  in  use  were  converted  into  ploughshares,  and  that 
those  hands  occupied  in  scribbling  were  employed  with 
the  plough  and  the  spade.  The  former,  to  many,  is 
indeed  only  labor  of  the  hands ;  but  the  latter  is  the 
most  useful,  and,  if  I  am  not  much  mistaken,  we  shall 
be  at  length  obliged,  from  political  considerations,  to 
recur  to  it  once  more.  Man  must  again  approach 
nearer  to  his  parent  Earth,  from  which  he  has  so  far 
removed  in  every  point  of  view. 

All,  indeed,  cannot  be  farmers  by  profession ;  but 
how  beneficial  would  it  be,  if  men  of  letters,  people  of 
business,  and  those  who  labor  with  their  heads,  would 
divide  their  time  between  both  kinds  of  employment; 
and  imitate  the  ancients,  who,  notwithstanding  their 
philosophical  or  political  engagements,  did  not  think  it 
beneath  their  dignity  to  devote  their  spare  hours  to 
agriculture,  and  to  rusticate  in  the  proper  sense  of  the 
word !  All  the  melancholy  consequences  of  a  seden- 
tary life,  and  overstraining  the  mental  faculties,  would 
disappear,  if  people,  some  hours  every  day,  or  a  few 
mouths  in  the  year,  would  take  hold  of  a  spade  or  a 


RUR\L    AND    COUNTRY   LIFE.  265 

mattock  and  cultivate  their  field  or  their  garden ;  for 
the  usual  method  of  living  in  the  country,  (which  in 
general  means  nothing  else  than  to  carry  along  with 
one  care  and  books,  and  to  read,  think,  or  write  in  the 
open  air,  instead  of  a  chamber,)  cannot  accomplish  that 
object.  Such  rustication  will  again  restore  the  equi- 
librium between  the  mind  and  the  body,  which  the 
writing-desk  so  often  destroys.  By  an  union  of  these 
three  grand  panaceas,  exercise,  free  air,  and  exhilarat- 
ing the  spirits,  a  renovation  and  restoration  may  be 
annually  effected,  which  will  be  of  incredible  service  to 
vital  duration  and  happiness.  Nay  I  do  not  think  I  say 
too  much  when  I  promise,  from  this  practice,  besides 
physical  advantages,  many  of  a  spiritual  and  moral 
nature  also.  Cobwebs  of  the  brain  and  hypotheses  of 
the  closet  will  certainly  be  less  abundant ;  people  will 
not  so  often  imagine  the  whole  world  to  be  contained 
in  their  persons,  or  within  the  four  walls  of  their  studies, 
and  treat  it  in  that  point  of  view ;  and  the  mind  will 
acquire  a  greater  propensity  to  truth,  more  soundness, 
more  warmth,  and  a  more  natural  manner  of  thinking, 
properties  which  distinguish  the  Greek  and  Roman 
philosophers  so  much,  and  for  which,  in  my  opinion, 
they  were  indebted  principally  to  their  continual  inter- 
course with  Nature.  One  ought  therefore  to  be  exceed- 
ingly careful  never  to  suffer  a  taste  for  Nature  to  be 
extinguished  in  the  mind.  This  taste  may  be  easily 
destroyed,  by  always  living  recluse,  by  incessant  appli- 
cation to  business,  and  by  abstract  speculations  in  the 
closet ;  and  when  it  is  once  lost,  the  most  beautiful 
rural  scenes  will  have  no  effect  upon  us ;  and  one,  in 
the  most  delightful  districts,  and  under  the  serenest 


266  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG  LIFE. 

sky,  may  remain  in  a  state  of  living  death.  This  may 
be  best  guarded  against  by  not  removing  too  long  or 
too  far  from  Nature  ;  by  quitting,  as  often  as  one  can, 
the  artificial  and  abstract  world ;  by  opening  all  the 
senses  to  the  beneficent  influences  of  Nature ;  and  if 
one  from  the  earliest  youth  endeavors  to  acquire  a 
taste  for  the  study  of  Natural  History  (a  point  which 
ought  to  be  attended  to  in  education),  and  to  warm  the 
imagination  for  it  by  the  beautiful  imitations  of  paint- 
ing, and  the  heart-exalting  descriptions  of  the  poets  of 
Nature,  such  as  a  Zachariii,  Thomson,  Gesner,  Mat- 
thison,  etc. 


CHAPTER  X. 

Travelling. 

I  CANNOT  possibly  omit  to  devote  here  a  particular 
place  to  this  enjoyment,  and  to  recommend  it  as  a 
means  of  prolonging  life.  The  continual  motion,  vari- 
ety of  scene,  exhilaration  of  the  mind,  and  the  use  of 
free  and  changed  air,  have  a  magical  effect  upon  man- 
kind, and  contribute  in  an  incredible  degree  to  renovate 
and  revive  the  whole  frame.  Vital  consumption  may 
indeed  be  thereby  somewhat  increased;  but  this  is 
amply  counterbalanced  by  the  increased  restoration 
which  is  effected,  partly  in  regard  to  the  body,  by 
digestion  being  strengthened  and  invigorated,  and 
partly  in  regard  to  the  mind,  by  a  succession  of  agree- 
able impressions,  and  the  forgetfulness  of  one's  self. 
This  help,  therefore,  I  recommend  to  those  whose 
employment  condemns  them  to  a  sedentary  life,  who 
are  continually  engaged  in  abstract  studies  or  oppres- 
sive labor,  whose  minds  have  sunk  into  a  state  of  insen- 
sibility, melancholy  or  hypochondriasis,  or,  what  is 
worst  of  all,  are  strangers  to  domestic  felicity. 

But  as  many  employ  it  in  such  a  manner  that  it  pro- 
duces no  effect,  it  perhaps  may  be  of  some  service  to 
communicate  here  a  few  of  the  most  important  rules 
how  people  must  travel  in  order  to  benefit  their  health 
and  their  life. 


268  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

1st.  Travelling  on  foot,  or  rather  on  horseback,  is 
the  most  healthful,  and  best  calculated  to  answer  the 
end  proposed ;  but  when  one  is  weakly,  or  undertakes 
long  excursions,  it  is  more  advisable  to  travel  in  a  car- 
riage. 

2nd.  When  one  travels  in  a  carriage,  it  is  very  bene- 
ficial always  to  change  the  posture ;  that  is,  to  sit  some- 
times, and  sometimes  to  recline.  By  these  means  one 
can  best  prevent  the  evils  attending  continued  riding  in 
this  manner,  which  are  occasioned  principally  by  the 
jolting  being  in  one  direction. 

3rd.  Nature  will  not  suffer  any  sudden  transitions. 
It  is  therefore  improper  for  people  accustomed  to  a 
sedentary  life  to  undertake  suddenly  a  journey  during 
which  they  will  be  exposed  to  violent  jolting.  The 
case  here  is  the  same  as  if  one  accustomed  to  drink 
water  should  all  at  once  begin  to  drink  wine.  Let  the 
transition  be  slow,  and  begin  with  moderate  motion. 

4th.  Excursions,  the  object  of  which  is  health  and 
the  prolongation  of  life,  must  not  be  fatiguing  ;  but  this 
can  be  determined  only  by  difference  of  temperament 
and  constitution.  Ten  or  twelve  miles  daily,  with  a 
rest  every  three  or  four  days,  may  perhaps  be  the  best 
standard.  One  ought,  above  all  things,  to  avoid  travel- 
ling in  the  night  time;  which,  by  interrupting  the 
necessary  refreshment,  checking  perspiration,  and  ex- 
posing the  body  to  unhealthful  air,  is  always  preju- 
dicial. By  respecting  nocturnal  rest,  one  may  accom- 
plish twice  as  much  in  the  day. 

5th.  People  must  not  imagine  that  they  may  indulge 
a  little  more  in  intemperance  when  on  a  journey.  One, 
however,  needs  not  to  be  too  nice  in  the  choice  of  food 


USES    OF    TRAVELLING.  269 

and  drink ;  and  it  is  always  best  to  use  the  common 
fare  of  each  country.  But  at  any  rate  the  stomach 
ought  not  to  be  overloaded.  By  the  motion  of  travel- 
ling, the  power  of  the  body  is  too  much  divided  for  the 
stomach  to  admit  of  a  large  quantity  of  food ;  and  the 
motion  itself,  by  these  means,  will  become  more  fatigu- 
ing. People,  in  particular,  should  not  indulge  too 
much  in  heating  food  and  liquors,  as  is  often  the  case 
on  journeys;  for  travelling  alone  acts  as  a  stimulus, 
and  less  stimulating  nourishment  is  then  required  than 
in  a  state  of  rest.  A  want  of  attention  to  this  rule  may 
occasion  too  violent  irritation,  inflammation,  accumula- 
tions of  the  blood,  etc.  It  is  most  proper,  on  journeys, 
too  eat  rather  little  at  a  time,  but  often ;  to  drink  more 
than  one  eats  ;  and  to  choose  food  easy  of  digesiion, 
yet  strongly  nutritive,  not  of  a  heating  nature,  and  such 
as  cannot  be  readily  adulterated.  It  is  safest,  therefore, 
in  the  country,  and  in  small  inns,  to  use  milk,  eggs, 
well-baked  bread,  boiled  or  roasted  meat,  and  fruit.  I 
advise  travellers,  above  all,  to  be  on  their  guard  against 
the  wine  kept  in  such  houses.  It  will  be  much  better 
to  drink  water  with  the  addition  of  a  little  lemon-juice, 
or  of  some  good  liquor  which  they  may  carry  along 
with  them.  If  the  water  be  impure,  it  may  be  ren- 
dered sweet  by  charcoal  powder.* 

*  This  is  one  of  the  greatest  and  beneficial  discoveries  of 
modern  times,  for  which  we  are  indebted  to  Mr.  Lowiz  of  Peters- 
burg. Water  which  has  a  disagreeable  odor,  or  has  become 
putrid,  may  almost  immediately  be  freed  from  its  nauseous  taste, 
as  well  as  its  bad  smell,  and  be  converted  into  good  drinkable 
liquor,  by  the  following  process :  —  Take  some  burnt  charcoal, 
and  reduce  it  to  a  fine  powder.  Mix  about  a  tablespoonful  of 


270  MEANS     WHICH    PROLONG    LIFE. 

6th.  Avoid  immoderate  exertion  and  wasting  of  the 
powers.  It  is,  however,  as  difficult  in  general  to  lay 
down  a  proper  standard  of  motion,  as  of  eating  and 
drinking.  But  Nature,  in  this,  has  given  us  a  very  ex- 
cellent guide,  a  sense  of  lassitude,  which  is  here  of  as 
much  importance  as  the  sense  of  satiety  in  eating  or 
drinking.  Weariness  is  nothing  else  than  the  voice  of 
Nature,  which  tells  us  that  our  stock  of  powers  is  ex- 
hausted, and  that  he  who  is  tired  should  enjoy  repose. 
But  Nature  may,  indeed,  become  lost  in  habit ;  and  we 
may  be  as  insensible  of  lassitude  as  the  continual  glut- 
ton is  of  fulness,  especially  when  the  nerves  are  over- 
strained by  stimulating  and  heating  food  and  drink. 
There  are  then,  however,  other  signs  to  tell  us  that  we 
have  exceeded  the  proper  measure ;  and  I  request  that 
to  these  the  strictest  attention  may  be  paid.  When  one 
begins  to  be  low-spirited  or  dejected ;  to  yawn  often, 
and  be  drowsy,  yet  at  the  same  time  to  be  incapable  of 
sleeping  though  one  enjoys  rest ;  when  the  appetite  is 
lost ;  when  the  smallest  movement  occasions  a  fluttering 
of  the  pulse,  heat,  and  even  trembling ;  when  the  mouth 
becomes  dry,  and  is  sensible  of  a  bitter  taste,  it  is  high 
time  to  seek  refreshment  and  repose,  if  one  wishes  to 
prevent  illness  already  beginning  to  take  place. 

7th.  While  one  is  travelling,  insensible  perspiration 
may  easily   be   checked  ;    and   cold   is   the   principal 

this  powder  in  a  pint  of  water,  stir  it  well  round,  and  suffer  it  to 
stand  for  a  few  minutes.  Let  it  then  run  slowly  through  filter- 
ing paper  into  a  glass,  and  it  will  be  found  quite  transparent, 
without  any  bad  taste  or  smell,  and  perfectly  pure  for  drinking. 
People  may  preserve  the  charcoal  powder  a  long  time  in  a  small 
bottle  well  corked,  and  carry  it  with  them  when  they  travel. 


USES    OF   TRAVELLING.  271 

source  of  those  diseases  which  thence  arise.  It  is 
advisable,  therefore,  to  guard  against  all  sudden  transi- 
tions from  heat  to  cold,  or  the  contrary ;  and  those  who 
have  great  sensibility  in  the  skin,  will  do  well,  when 
they  go  on  a  journey,  to  carry  a  thin  flannel  shirt  along 
with  them. 

8th.  Cleanliness,  when  one  travels,  is  doubly  neces- 
sary ;  and,  therefore,  to  wash  the  body  frequently  with 
cold  water  is  much  to  be  recommended.^  This  will  con- 
tribute also,  in  a  great  degree,  to  remove  lassitude. 

9th.  During  winter,  or  in  a  cold  climate,  one  may 
'always  submit  to  greater  exercise  than  during  summer, 
or  in  warm  climates,  where  perspiration  exhausts  one 
half  of  the  strength.  One,  also,  can  undergo  more 
fatigue  early  in  the  morning  than  in  the  afternoon. 

10th.  Full-blooded  persons,  or  those  who  are  subject 
to  a  spitting  of  blood,  or  other  serious  disease,  must 
consult  their  physician  before  they  undertake  a  journey. 


CHAPTER   XI. 

Cleanliness,  and  care  of  the  skin. 

BOTH  these  I  consider  as  important  means  for  the 
prolongation  of  life.  Cleanliness  removes  every  thing 
that  Nature  has  secreted  from  us,  as  useless  or  cor- 
rupted ;  as  well  as  every  thing  prejudicial,  that  might 
be  conveyed  to  us,  from  without,  through  the  super- 
ficies of  our  bodies. 

Care  of  the  skin  is  an  essential  part  of  cleanliness, 
and  consists  in  paying  such  attention  to  it  from  infancy, 
that  it  may  be  kept  in  a  lively,  active,  and  useful  con- 
dition. 

The  skin,  indeed,  must  not  be  considered  merely  as 
a  common  covering  to  defend  us  from  the  sun  and  the 
rain,  but  as  one  of  the  most  important  organs  of  our 
body,  without  the  incessant  activity  and  agency  of 
which  there  can  be  neither  health  nor  long  life ;  and 
in  the  neglect  of  which,  in  modern  times,  lies  the  secret 
source  of  numberless  diseases  and  evils  that  tend  to 
shorten  our  existence.  May  the  following  observa- 
tions, therefore,  make  more  impression  on  my  readers, 
and  excite  more  attention  to  this  organ  and  the  man- 
agement of  it ! 

The  skin  is  the  greatest  medium  for  purifying  our 
bodies;  and  every  moment  a  multitude  of  useless, 
corrupted,  and  worn-out  particles  evaporate  through 


CARE    OF   THE    SKIN.  273 

its  numberless  small  vessels,  in  an  insensible  manner. 
This  secretion  is  inseparably  connected  with  life,  and 
the  circulation  of  our  blood ;  and  by  it  the  greater 
part  of  all  the  impurity  of  our  bodies  is  removed.  If 
the  skin,  therefore,  be  flabby  or  inactive,  and  if  its 
pores  be  stopped  up,  an  acridity  and  corruption  of 
our  juices  will  be  the  unavoidable  consequence,  and 
the  most  dangerous  diseases  may  ensue. 

Besides,  the  skin  is  the  seat  of  feeling,  the  most 
general  of  all  our  senses,  or  that  which  in  an  essential 
manner  connects  us  with  surrounding  Nature,  and  in 
particular  with  the  atmosphere  ;  and  by  the  state  of 
which,  in  a  great  measure,  the  sensation  of  our  own 
existence,  and  the  relation  which  we  bear  to  every 
thing  around  us,  is  determined.  Hence  a  greater  or 
less  sensibility,  in  regard  to  disease,  depends  very 
much  on  the  skin ;  and  those  whose  skin  is  weak  or 
relaxed  have  generally  a  sensation  too  delicate  and 
unnatural,  by  which  means  it  happens  that  they  are 
internally  affected  in  a  manner  highly  disagreeable, 
by  every  small  variation  in  the  weather,  every  change 
of  the  atmosphere,  and  at  length  become  real  baro- 
meters. Such  a  constitution  is  called  the  rheumatic, 
and  arises  chiefly  from  a  want  of  strength  in  the  skin. 
It  occasions  a  tendency  to  perspiration,  which  is  also 
an  unnatural  state,  and  which  exposes  us  continually 
to  colds  and  other  disorders. 

It  is,  likewise,  a  grand  means  for  preserving  an  equi- 
librium in  the  powers  and  motion  of  our  bodies.  The 
more  active  and  open  the  skin  is,  the  more  secure  will 
people  be  against  obstructions,  and  diseases  of  the 
lungs,  intestines,  and  lower  stomach ;  and  the  less  ten- 
18 


274  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

dency  will  they  have  to  gastric  (bilious)  fevers,  hypo- 
chondriasis,  gout,  asthma,  catarrh,  and  varicose  veins. 
One  great  cause  of  these  disorders  being  at  present  so 
common  amongst  us,  is,  that  we  no  longer  endeavor 
to  cleanse  and  strengthen  the  skin  by  bathing  and  other 
means. 

.  The  skin,  moreover,  is  one  of  the  most  important 
means  of  restoration  of  our  bodies,  by  which  a  multi- 
tude of  fine  spiritual  component  parts  are  conveyed  to 
us  from  the  atmosphere.  Without  a  sound  skin  there 
can  be  no  complete  restoration,  which  is  one  of  the 
chief  principles  of  long  life. 

It  ought  also  not  to  be  forgotten,  that  the  skin  is  the 
grand  organ  of  crises,  that  is  to  say,  the  assistant  of 
Nature  in  disease ;  and  that  a  man  with  open  pores, 
and  a  skin  sufficiently  vigorous,  may  depend  on  being 
cured  much  more  easily  and  with  more  certainty,  and 
often  even  without  the  use  of  medicine. 

That  such  an  organ  must  be  a  great  support  of 
health  and  life,  no  one  will  deny ;  and  it  is  therefore 
incomprehensible  how  people  in  modern  times,  since 
mankind  have  become  more  enlightened,  should  neg- 
lect it  so  much.  Nay,  we  in  general  find,  that,  instead 
of  paying  the  least  attention  to  it,  they  from  their  in- 
fancy do  every  thing  in  their  power,  as  it  were,  to  re- 
lax and  to  weaken  it,  and  to  stop  up  its  pores.  The 
most  of  mankind,  except  at  baptism,  never  experience 
the  benefit  of  bathing  during  their  whole  lives  ;  the  skin 
by  dirt  and  daily  perspiration  is  more  and  more  stopped 
up ;  weakened  and  relaxed  by  warm  clothing,  furs, 
feather-beds,  etc. ;  rendered  inactive  by  confined  air, 
and  a  sedentary  life  j  and  I  think  I  may,  without  ex- 


CARE    OF   THE    SKIN.  275 

aggeration,  assert,  that,  among  the  greater  part  of 
men,  the  pores  of  the  skin  are  half-closed  and  unfit 
for  use. 

Let  me  here  be  permitted  to  call  the  attention  of  my 
readers  to  an  incongruity,  which  is  not  the  only  one  of 
the  kind  in  human  life.  The  most  ignorant  person  is 
convinced  that  proper  care  of  the  skin  is  indispensably 
necessary  for  the  existence  and  well-being  of  horses 
and  various  animals.  The  groom  often  denies  himself 
sleep,  and  other  gratifications,  that  he  may  curry  and 
dress  his  horses  sufficiently.  If  they  become  meagre 
and  weak,  the  first  reflection  is,  whether  there  may  not 
have  been  some  neglect  or  want  of  care  in  regard  to 
combing  them.  Such  a  simple  idea,  however,  never 
occurs  to  him  in  respect  to  his  child.  If  it  grow  feeble 
and  sickly ;  if  it  pine  away  and  is  afflicted  with  disease, 
the  consequence  of  dirt,  he  thinks  rather  of  witchcraft 
and  other  absurdities  than  of  the  real  cause,  neglecting 
to  keep  the  skin  pure  and  clean.  Since  we  show  so 
much  prudence  and  intelligence  in  regard  to  animals, 
why  not  in  regard  to  men  ? 

The  rules  which  I  have  to  propose  for  preserving 
cleanliness  and  a  sound  state  of  the  skin,  are  remark- 
ably easy  and  simple ;  and,  if  observed  from  youth, 
may  be  considered  as  very  powerful  means  for  the 
prolongation  of  life. 

1st.  Remove  carefully  every  thing  that  the  body 
has  secreted  as  corrupted  or  prejudicial.  This  may 
be  done  by  changing  the  linen  often,  daily  if  it  be 
possible,  and  also  the  bed-clothes,  or  at  least  the  sheets ; 
by  using,  instead  of  a  feather-bed,  a  mattress,  which 


276  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

attracts  less  dirt ;  and  by  continually  renewing  the  air 
in  apartments,  and  particularly  in  one's  bed-chamber. 

2nd.  Let  the  whole  body  be  washed  daily  with  cold 
water,  and  rub  the  skin  strongly  at  the  same  time, 
by  which  means  it  will  acquire  a  great  deal  of  life  and 
vigor. 

3rd.  One  ought  to  bathe  once  a  week,  the  whole 
year  through,  in  tepid  water;  and  it  will  be  of  con- 
siderable service  to  add  to  it  three  or  four  ounces  of 
soap.  It  is  much  to  be  wished  that  public  baths  were 
again  erected,  that  poor  people  might  enjoy  this  benefit, 
and  thereby  be  rendered  strong  and  sound,  as  was  the 
case  some  centuries  ago.* 

I  cannot  quit  this  subject  without  mentioning  sea- 

*  Traces  of  this  laudable  practice  may  still  everywhere  be 
seen  in  the  remains  of  baths  and  bathing-houses  ;  but  the  use  of 
it  has  been  abandoned  through  the  inconceivable  indolence  of 
mankind.  Every  Sunday  evening,  people  formerly  went  in  pro- 
cession through  the  streets,  beating  on  basins,  to  remind  the 
lower  classes  of  bathing;  and  the  tradesman,  who  labored  at 
dirty  work,  washed  off,  in  the  bath,  that  dirt  which  now  adheres 
to  him  perhaps  during  his  whole  life.  In  every  place  of  any 
consequence  there  should  be  a  bathing-house,  or  a  floating  bath 
on  some  river  for  the  summer,  and  another  for  the  winter.  In 
bathing  it  ought  to  be  a  rule  never  to  enter  the  water  with  a  full 
stomach,  but  either  fasting  or  four  hours  after  eating  ;  never  to 
bathe  when  the  body  is  hot ;  to  remain  in  cold  water  not  more 
than  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  and  in  warm  water  never  more  than 
three  quarters  ;  to  be  cautious  of  catching  cold  when  one  comes 
out,  which  may  be  best  done  by  putting  on  a  flannel  gown  ;  and 
during  dry  warm  weather,  to  take  moderate  exercise  afterwards ; 
but  in  cold,  inoist  weather,  to  remain  for  an  hour  in  a  warm 
apartment. 


CAKE    OF    THE    SKIN.  277 

bathing,  which,  on  account  of  its  stimulative  and  pene- 
trating power,  may  be  placed  at  the  head  of  those 
means  that  regard  the  care  of  the  skin ;  and  which 
certainly  supplies  one  of  the  first  wants  of  the  present 
generation,  by  opening  the  pores,  and  thereby  reinvig- 
orating  the  whole  nervous  system.  This  bathing  is 
attended  with  two  important  advantages.  The  first 
is,  that  besides  its  great  healing  power,  in  cases  of 
disease,  it  may  be  employed  by  those  who  are  perfectly 
well,  as  the  means  most  agreeable  to  Nature  for  strength- 
ening and  preserving  health ;  which  is  not  the  case 
with  a  great  many  other  kinds  of  bathing,  that  are  in- 
jurious to  a  healthy  person.  In  this  respect  it  may 
be  compared  to  bodily  exercise,  which  can  remove  dis- 
eases otherwise  incurable,  —  and  which  may  be  used 
also  by  those  who  are  sound,  in  order  to  preserve  them- 
selves in  that  state.  The  other  advantage  is  the  noble, 
grand,  and  indescribable  prospect  of  the  sea  connected 
with  it ;  and  which,  on  those  not  acquainted  with  it, 
has  an  effect  capable  of  bracing  up  the  nervous  system, 
and  producing  a  beneficial  exaltation  of  the  whole 
frame.  I  am  fully  convinced  that  the  physical  effects 
of  sea-bathing  must  be  greatly  increased  by  this  impres- 
sion on  the  mind  ;  and  that  a  hypochondriac  or  nervous 
person  may  be  half  cured  by  residing  on  the  sea-coast, 
and  enjoying  a  view  of  the  grand  scenes  ,of  Nature 
which  will  there  present  themselves :  such  as  the  rising 
and  setting  of  the  sun  over  the  blue  expanse  of  the 
waters,  the  awful  majesty  of  the  waves  during  a  storm, 
etc.  For  the  like  purpose,  therefore,  I  would  advise 
an  inhabitant  of  the  inland  parts  to  take  a  journey  to 


278  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG   LIFE. 

the  sea ;  and  an  inhabitant  of  the  coast  to  make  an  ex- 
cursion to  the  Alps ;  for  both,  in  my  opinion,  are  the 
sublimest  productions  of  Nature.  The  thanks  of  the 
public  are  undoubtedly  due  to  that  exalted  prince,  so 
much  a  friend  to  mankind,  who  erected  the  first  sea- 
bath  in  Germany,  at  Dobrahn,  near  Rostock ;  and  to 
that  worthy  physician  Vogel,  who  formed  the  plan  of 
it  in  a  manner  so  excellent  and  so  likely  to  make  it 
answer  the  intended  purpose,  and  who  assists  its  salu- 
tary effects  by  his  presence  and  advice. 

4th.  People  should  wear  warm  clothing  that  does 
not  tend  to  weaken  the  skin,  and  which  may  readily 
suffer  the  perspiring  matter  to  pass  through  it.  In 
this  respect,  I  know  nothing  more  prejudicial  than  to 
wear  fur,  which,  by  its  great  warmth,  weakens  the 
skin  very  much;  does  not  promote  evaporation,  but 
sweat ;  and,  on  account  of  the  thickness  of  the  leather, 
does  not  suffer  the  perspiring  particles  to  fly  off.  The 
consequence  is,  that  a  continual  vapor-bath  is  formed 
between  the  fur  and  the  skin,  and  that  a  great  part  of 
the  impure  matter  is  again  thrown  back  on  the  body, 
and  imbibed  by  it  Far  better  is  flannel,  which  has 
the  advantage  of  fur,  without  the  disadvantage  of  at- 
tracting dirt  and  occasioning  too  much  heat.  But  all 
these  warm  coverings  on  the  bare  skin  are  to  be  recom- 
mended only  during  intense  cold  or  for  weakly  people 
subject  to  rheumatism.  In  infancy  and  youth,  and 
for  those  whose  bodies  are  sound,  it  is  far  preferable 
to  wear  next  the  skin  either  linen  or  cotton,  with"  a 
vest  of  the  same  in  summer,  and  in  winter  one  of  wool- 
len. 


CARE    OF    THE    SKIN.  279 

, 

5th.  One  should  use  much  bodily  exercise ;  for  this 
is  a  great  promoter  of  insensible  perspiration. 

6th.  Avoid  all  food  unfavorable  to  perspiration. 
Of  this  nature  is  fat  of  every  kind,  pork,  goose, 
cheese,  etc. 


CfiAPTEB,   XII. 


Proper  food.    Moderation  in  eating  and  drinking.    Preservation  of 
the  teeth. 


THE  idea  of  proper  regimen  is  somewhat  relative. 
In  general,  we  find  that  those  men  who  were  not  too 
nice  or  particular  in  regard  to  their  food,  but  who  lived 
sparingly,  attained  to  the  greatest  age ;  and  it  is  an 
advantage  peculiar  to  man,  that  he  can  digest  and 
assimilate  the  most  heterogeneous  kinds  of  nourish- 
ment, and  is  not,  like  other  animals,  confined  to  one 
certain  class.  It  is  proved  that  people  in  a  natural 
state,  who  are  much  exposed  to  the  free  open  air  and 
to  exercise,  require  few  rules  respecting  their  diet.  It 
was  our  artificial  manner  of  living  that  first  rendered 
regimen  necessary. 

It  is  at  any  rate  certain,  that  the  prolongation  of  life 
does  not  so  much  depend  on  the  quality,  as  on  the 
quantity,  of  our  nourishment ;  and  the  instance  of 
Cornaro  affords  an  astonishing  proof  how  far  a  man  of 
weakly  constitution  may  thereby  prolong  his  existence. 

It  may  with  truth  be  asserted,  that  the  greater  part 
of  mankind  eat  more  than  is  necessary ;  and  by  being 
crammed  and  over-fed  in  infancy,  we  are  deprived  of 
that  natural  sensation  which  ought  to  tell  us  when  we 
have  enough. 


CAKE    OF   THE    TEETH.  281 

I  shall  here  only  give  such  common  rules  in  regard 
to  eating  and  drinking  as  will  suit  the  generality  of  man- 
kind ;  and  which,  I  am  convinced,  will  have  an  essen- 
tial influence  in  prolonging  life. 

1st.  It  is  not  what  we  eat,  but  what  we  digest,  that 
does  us  good,  and  serves  to  nourish  our  bodies.  He 
who  wishes  to  live  long  ought,  therefore,  to  eat  slowly; 
as  our  food  must  obtain  in  the  mouth  the  first  degree  of 
preparation  and  assimilation.  This  is  effected  by  its 
being  sufficiently  chewed  and  mixed  with  saliva ;  botli 
which  I  consider  as  a  principal  part  of  the  business  of 
restoration,  and  consequently  set  great  value  upon  them 
in  regard  to  the  prolongation  of  life,  especially  as  it  ap- 
pears by  my  researches  that  all  those  who  were  accus- 
tomed to  eat  slowly  attained  to  a  great  age. 

2nd.  A  great  deal  depends  on  good  teeth  ;  and,  there- 
fore, I  can  with  propriety  reckon  preservation  of  the 
teeth  among  those  means  that  tend  to  prolong  life.  By 
the  following  rules,  if  observed  from  infancy,  the  teeth 
may  be  preserved  fast  and  sound  to  the  greatest  age. 

One  must  always  join  with  the  flesh  used  for  food  a 
sufficient  quantity  of  vegetables  and  bread;  for  flesh 
adheres  more  readily  between  the  teeth,  and  tends  to 
injure  them.  It  will  be  found,  therefore,  that  those 
who  use  little  or  no  flesh,  boors  and  country  people, 
have  always  the  best  teeth,  though  they  never  clean 
them.  But  no  tooth-powder  can  be  more  efficacious 
than  a  piece  of  dry  burnt  bread ;  and  it  is  a  custom 
very  salutary  for  the  teeth,  to  chew  slowly  a  crust  of 
bread  after  every  meal. 

Avoid  exposing  the  teeth  to  a  sudden  transition  from 
heat  to  cold,  or  the  contrary ;  for  the  teeth  are  covered 


282  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG   LIFE. 

with  a  glassy  kind  of  enamel,  which  may  be  easily 
cracked  by  such  sudden  changes  ;  so  that  corrupted  par- 
ticles can  insinuate  themselves  into  the  rents,  and  lay  the 
first  foundation  of  decay  within  them.  It  will  be  best, 
therefore,  never  to  take  too  hot  or  too  cold  things  into 
the  mouth ;  and  be  careful,  above  all,  not  to  drink  cold 
liquor  while  you  are  eating  warm  food,  such  as  hot 
soup,  etc. 

Never  eat  sugar,  and  avoid  confections,  which  are 
mixed  with  a  great  deal  of  tough  calcareous  particles. 

As  soon  as  you  observe  that  a  tooth  is  decayed,  have 
it  immediately  pulled  out,  otherwise  it  will  infect  the 
rest.* 

Wash  your  teeth  with  water  every  morning,  and  in 
particular  after  each  meal.  This  will  remove  any  re- 
mains of  food  adhering  to  them,  which  commonly  fix 
themselves  between  the  teeth,  and  lay  the  first  ground 
for  decay. 

Those  who  observe  these  rules  will  seldom  have  oc- 

*  It  is  an  error  to  suppose  that  a  decayed  tooth  has  the  power 
of  infecting  its  neighbor,  and  it  is  bad  advice  to  suggest  its  ex- 
traction. One  of  the  chief  agents  of  destruction  of  the  teeth  is 
pressure,  therefore  a  tooth  usually  decays  on  the  side  which  is 
contiguous  to  another,  and  as  in  all  probability  both  teeth  are 
sufferers  from  the  pressure,  both  are  liable  to  decay :  because  one 
precedes  the  other  in  this  action,  it  has  been  inferred  that  the  de- 
cayed tooth  has  contaminated  its  fellow,  but  this  is  not  the  fact. 
Then  as  to  the  advice.  When  a  tooth  has  decayed,  the  patient 
should  seek  the  dentist,  who  will  probably  clear  out  the  dead 
part,  and  stop  the  cavity  with  gold.  When  this  operation  is  well 
and  judiciously  performed^  the  tooth  will  last  as  long  as  if  it 
were  perfectly  sound.  Hence,  the  chief  art  of  the  dentist  of  the 
present  day  is  to  save  the  teeth  and  not  waste  them,  as  was  the 
case  when  our  author  nourished.  —  EDITOR. 


CARE    OF   THE    TEETH.  283 

casion  for  tooth-powder.  But  if  th^  teeth  have  a  ten- 
dency, as  is  the  case  naturally  in  some  men,  to  become 
foul,  or  to  acquire  what  is  called  tartar,  I  recommend 
the  following  harmless  prescription :  —  Take  half  an 
ounce  of  red  sandal-wood,  with  a  quarter  of  an  ounce  of 
China-root  (similax  aspera  Ghinensis)  ;  reduce  them  to 
a  fine  powder,  and  sift  it  through  a  hair-sieve.*  Then 
add  to  it  six  drops  of  the  oil  of  cloves,  and  the  same 
quantity  of  bergamot  oil ;  and  rub  the  teeth  with  it  in 
the  morning. 

3rd.  Beware  of  studying,  reading,  or  straining  the 
head  while  at  table.  That  period  must  certainly  be 
consecrated  to  the  stomach.  It  is  the  time  of  its  gov- 
ernment ;  and  the  mind  must  no  further  interfere  with 
it  than  may  be.  necessary  to  assist  its  operations. 
Laughter  is  one  of  the  greatest  helps  to  digestion  with 
which  I  am  acquainted ;  and  the  custom,  prevalent 
among  our  forefathers,  of  exciting  it  at  table  by  jesters 
and  buffoons,  was  founded  on  true  medical  principles. 
In  a  word,  endeavor  to  have  cheerful  and  merry  com- 
panions at  your  meals.  What  nourishment  one  re- 
ceives amidst  mirth  and  jollity,  will  certainly  produce 
good  and  light  blood. 

4th.  Do  not  expose  yourself  to  violent  motion  after 
meals;  for  this  will  disturb,  in  an  astonishing  degree, 

*  This  tooth-powder,  composed  of  materials  no  longer  in  use,, 
is  very  inferior  to  the  tooth-powders  of  the  present  day ;  the  best 
of  which  are  those  made  either  of  simple  precipitated  chalk  :  of 
precipitated  chalk  with  one  eighth  part  of  orris-root;  or  of  pre- 
cipitated chalk  with  one  eighth  part  of  camphor.  Camphor  has 
of  late  been  accused  of  doing  injury  to  the  teeth,  by  rendering 
them  brittle ;  whether  such  be  really  the  case  I  am  unable  to  de- 
cide.—  EDITOR. 


284  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

the  digestion  and  assimilation  of  your  nourishment.  It 
will  be  best  to  stand,  or  to  walk  about  slowly.  The 
properest  time  for  exercise  is  before  meals,  or  three 
hours  after. 

5th.  Never  eat  so  much  that  you  feel  you  have  a 
stomach.  It  will  be  best  to  give  over  before  you  are 
completely  sated.  The  quantity  of  food  must  be  always 
proportioned  to  one's  bodily  labor :  the  less  the  labor, 
the  less  ought  to  be  the  nourishment. 

6th.  In  the  choice  of  food  one  should  incline  more  to 
vegetables.  Flesh  has  always  a  greater  tendency  to 
putrefaction ;  and  vegetables,  on  the  other  hand,  to  aci- 
dity, which  corrects  putrefaction,  our  continual  and  great- 
est enemy.  Besides,  animal  food  is  always  of  a  more 
heating  and  stimulating  nature ;  whereas  vegetables  pro- 
duce cool,  mild  blood ;  lessen  the  internal  motion,  men- 
tal as  well  as  bodily  irritability ;  and  powerfully  retard 
vital  consumption.  Lastly,  animal  food  yields  more 
blood  and  nourishment ;  and  requires,  in  order  to  be 
beneficial  to  us,  much  more  labor  and  bodily  motion  ; 
and,  by  the  use  of  it,  one  also  is  liable  to  become  ple- 
thoric. On  this  account  it  is  not  proper  for  men  of  let- 
ters, and  those  who  sit  a  great  deal ;  as  such  people  do 
not  require  so  strong  restoration,  or  so  much  addition 
of  substance,  but  only  of  those  fine  nourishing  juices 
that  are  necessary  for  the  spiritual  functions.  One, 
above  all,  ought  to  avoid  flesh  in  summer,  and  when 
putrid  fevers  are  prevalent.  We  find  that  it  is  not 
those  who  lived  on  flesh,  but  on  vegetables,  pulse,  fruit, 
and  milk,  who  attained  to  the  greatest  age ;  Lord 
Bacon  mentions  a  man  of  120,  who,  during  his  whole 
life,  never  used  any  other  food  than  milk.  The  Brah- 


MODERATION    IN   FOOD.  285 

mins,  by  their  religion,  are  confined  merely  to  vegeta- 
bles, and,  for  the  most  part,  live  to  the  age  of  100. 
John  Wesley,  in  the  middle  of  his  life,  gave  over  the 
use  of  flesh ;  lived  upon  vegetables  alone,  and  attained 
the  age  of  88. 

7th.  At  night,  one  ought  to  eat  sparingly,  and  use 
little  or  no  flesh,  if  cold  it  will  be  best ;  and  to  sup  a 
few  hours  before  bed-time. 

8th.  Never  neglect  to  use  a  sufficient  quantity  of 
drink.  It  too  often  happens  that  people,  by  inatten- 
tion to  the  calls  of  Nature,  forget  drinking  altogether, 
and  are  no  longer  reminded  of  it ;  which  is  the  grand 
cause  of  aridity,  obstructions  in  the  lower  stomach,  and 
a  multitude  of  diseases  to  be  found  so  frequently  among 
men  of  letters,  and  females,  who  lead  a  sedentary  life. 
But  it  is  to  be  observed,  that  the  best  time  for  drinking 
is  not  while  one  is  eating,  as  the  gastric  juices  are  there- 
by rendered  too  thin,  and  the  stomach  weakened,  —  but 
about  an  hour  after  meals. 

The  best  drink  is  water,  a  liquor  commonly  despised, 
and  even  considered  as  prejudicial.  I  will  not  hesitate, 
however,  to  declare  it  to  be  one  of  the  greatest  means 
for  prolonging  life.  Read  what  is  said  of  it  by 
that  respectable  veteran,  Theden,  surgeon-general,  who 
ascribes  his  long  life  of  more  than  80  years  chiefly  to 
the  daily  use  of  seven  or  eight  quarts  (from  twenty  to 
twenty-four  pounds)  of  fresh  water,  which  he  drank  for 
upwards  of  forty  years.  Between  his  thirtieth  and  for- 
tieth year  he  was  a  most  miserable  hypochondriac,  op- 
pressed with  the  deepest  melancholy ;  tormented  with 
a  palpitation  of  the  heart,  indigestion,  etc. ;  and  im- 
agined that  he  could  not  live  six  months.  But  from  the 


286  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

time  that  he  began  this  water  regimen,  all  these  symp- 
toms disappeared ;  and  in  the  latter  half  of  his  life,  he 
enjoyed  better  health  than  before,  and  was  perfectly 
free  from  the  hypochondriac  affection.  One  great 
point,  however,  is,  that  the  water  must  be  fresh,  that  is, 
recently  drawn  from  a  spring  or  running  stream,  and 
be  put  into  a  vessel  well  stopped ;  for  all  spring  water, 
like  the  mineral,  contains  fixed  air,  which  renders  it 
.strengthening  and  favorable  to  digestion.  Pure,  fresh 
water  has  the  following  advantages,  which  certainly 
must  inspire  us  with  respect  for  it. 

The  element  of  water  is  the  greatest  and  only  pro- 
moter of  digestion,  —  by  its  coldness  and  fixed  air  it  is 
an  excellent  strengthener  and  reviver  of  the  stomach 
and  nerves.  On  account  of  its  abundance  of  fixed  air, 
and  the  saline  particles  it  contains,  it  is  a  powerful  pre- 
ventative  of  bile  and  putrefaction.  It  assists  all  the 
secretions  of  the  body.  Without  water  there  could  be 
no  excretion ;  as,  according  to  the  latest  experiments, 
oxygen  is  a  component  part  of  it,  by  drinking  water  we 
actually  imbibe  a  new  stimulus  of  life. 

I  cannot  here  omit  to  say  something  in  favor  of 
soups,  (liquid  nourishment,)  since  it  has  been  lately 
fashionable  to  decry  them  as  prejudicial. 

The  moderate  use  of  soups  is  certainly  not  hurtful ; 
and  it  is  singular  that  people  should  imagine  that  it 
tends  too  much  to  relax  the  stomach.  Does  not  all  our 
drink,  even  though  cold,  become  in  a  few  minutes  a 
kind  of  warm  soup  in  the  stomach ;  and  does  not  the 
stomach  retain  the  same  temperature  during  the  whole 
day  ?  Be  careful  only  not  to  use  it  hot,  in  too  great 
quantity  at  one  time,  or  too  watery.  It  is  attended 


MODERATION   IN   FOOD.  287 

even  with  great  advantages.  It  supplies  the  place  of 
drink,  particularly  to  men  of  letters,  women,  and  all 
those  who  do  not  drink,  or  drink  very  little  except  at 
table,  and  who,  when  they  give  over  soup,  receive  into 
their  blood  too  little  moisture.  And  it  is  here  to  be 
remarked,  that  fluids  used  in  %the  form  of  soup  unite 
much  better  and  sooner  with  our  juices  than  when 
drunk  cold  and  raw.  On  this  account  soup  is  a  great 
preventative  of  dryness  and  rigidity  in  the  body,  and 
therefore  the  best  nourishment  for  old  people,  and  those 
who  are  of  an  arid  temperament.  It  even  supplies 
the  place  of  medicine.  After  catching  cold,  in  ner- 
vous headaches,  colics,  and  different  kinds  of  cramp 
in  the  stomach,  warm  soup  is  of  excellent  service.  It 
may  serve  as  a  proof  of  the  utility,  or  at  least  ham- 
lessness,  of  soup,  when  I  remark  that  our  forefathers, 
who  certainly  had  more  strength  than  we  have,  used 
soup  ;  that  it  is  used  by  rustics,  who  are  stronger  than 
those  in  refined  life ;  and  that  all  the  old  people  with 
whom  I  ever  was  acquainted  were  great  friends  to  it. 
Wine  rejoices  the  heart  of  man,  but  it  is  by  no  means 
necessary  for  long  life,  since  those  who  never  drank 
it  seem  to  have  become  oldest.  Nay,  as  a  stimulant, 
which  accelerates  vital  consumption,  it  may  tend  very 
much  to  shorten  life,  when  used  too  frequently,  or  in 
too  great  abundance.  To  render  it  friendly  and  not 
prejudicial  to  life,  it  must  be  drunk  daily,  but  always 
in  moderation :  the  younger  a  man  is  in  less,  and  the 
older  in  the  greater  quantity.  It  is  best  when  one 
considers  and  uses  wine  as  the  seasoning  of  life,  and 
reserves  it  for  days  of  mirth  and  recreation  to  enliven 
the  friendly  circle. 


CHAPTER    XIII. 

Mental  tranquillity.    Contentment.    Dispositions  of  mind,  and 
employments  which  tend  to  prolong  life. 

PEACE  of  mind,  cheerfulness,  and  contentment,  are 
the  foundation  of  all  happiness,  all  health,  and  long 
life.  Some  may  here  say,  these  are  means  which  we 
have  not  in  our  power ;  they  depend  upon  external 
circumstances.  But  to  me  it  appears  that  the  case  is 
not  so :  for,  otherwise,  the  great  and  rich  would  be  the 
most  contented  and  happy,  and  the  poor  the  most 
miserable.  Experience,  however,  shows  the  contrary ; 
and  more  contentment,  without  doubt,  is  to  be  found 
amidst  poverty,  than  among  the  class  of  the  rich  and 
wealthy. 

There  are  sources  then  of  contentment  and  happiness 
which  lie  in  ourselves,  and  which  we  ought  carefully  to 
search  out  and  to  use.  Let  me  here  be  permitted  to 
mention  a  few  of  these  helps,  recommended  by  the 
simplest  philosophy,  and  which  I  offer  merely  as  rules 
of  regimen,  the  good  advice  of  a  physician  how  to  pro- 
long life. 

1st.  Endeavor  above  all  things  to  subdue  your  pas- 
sions. A  man  who  is  continually  subject  to  the  im- 
pulse of  his  passions,  is  always  in  an  extreme  and  ex- 
alted state,  and  can  never  attain  that  peaceful  frame  so 
necessary  for  the  support  of  life.  His  internal  vital 


MENTAL    TRANQUILLITY.  289 

consumption  is  thereby  dreadfully  increased,  and  he 
must  soon  be  destroyed. 

2nd.  People  should  accustom  themselves  to  consider 
life  not  as  an  object,  but  the  means  of  attaining  to 
higher  perfection  :  and  our  existence  and  fate  as  always 
directed  to  a  higher  aim,  and  subjected  to  a  more  ex- 
alted power.  They  should  never  lose  sight  of  that 
point  of  view  which  the  ancients  named  trust  in  provi- 
dence. They  will  thus  have  the  best  clue  to  direct 
their  way  through  the  labyrinth  of  life,  and  the  great- 
est security  against  all  attacks  by  which  their  peace  of 
mind  might  be  disturbed. 

3rd.  Live  always,  but  in  the  proper  sense,  for  the 
day ;  that  is,  employ  every  day  as  if  it  were  your  last, 
without  taking  any  thought  for  to-morrow.  Unhappy 
men  who  still  think  of  what  is  to  come,  and,  amidst 
your  plans  and  projects  for  the  future,  lose  the  enjoy- 
ment of  the  present !  The  present  is  the  parent  of  the 
future ;  and  he  who  fully  employs  each  day  and  each 
hour  according  to  its  destination,  can  in  the  evening  lie 
down  to  repose  with  the  agreeable  satisfaction  of  hav- 
ing not  only  lived  that  day  and  fulfilled  its  object,  but 
of  having  also  laid  the  best  foundation  for  the  enjoy- 
ment of  the  future. 

4th.  Endeavor  to  form  as  just  conceptions  as  possible 
of  every  event,  and  you  will  find  that  the  greater  part 
of  the  evils  in  the  world  arise  from  mistakes,  false  in- 
terest, or  precipitation;  and  that  the  principal  point 
is  not  so  much  what  is  done  to  us,  as  how  we  take  it. 
He  who  possesses  this  happy  talent  is  independent  of 
external  circumstances.  As  Weishaupt  has  said,  "  It  is 
certain  that  wisdom  alone  is  the  source  of  pleasure, 
19 


290  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

and  that  folly  is  the  source  of  misery.  Without  a  total 
resignation  in  the  will  of  providence,  a  conviction  that 
all  events  are  ordered  for  x>ur  good,  and  that  content- 
ment with  the  world  which  thence  arises,  every  thing 
is  folly,  and  will  lead  to  dissatisfaction." 

5th.  One  should  always  strengthen  and  confirm  more 
and  more  one's  trust  and  confidence  in  mankind,  and  in 
all  the  noble  virtues,  benevolence,  friendship,  affection, 
and  humanity  which  thence  arise.  Consider  every 
man  as  good,  till  you  are  convinced  of  the  contrary 
by  incontestable  proofs ;  and  even  then  man  ought  to 
be  looked  upon  as  a  being  misled  by  error,  who  de- 
serves our  compassion  much  rather  than  our  hatred. 
Man  indeed  would  be  good,  were  he  not  seduced  by 
ignorance,  misconception,  and  false  interest.  "Woe  to 
those  whose  philosophy  consists  in  trusting  no  one  ! 
Their  life  is  a  continual  state  of  defensive  and  offensive 
war ;  and  they  must  bid  farewell  to  cheerfulness  and 
contentment.  The  more  a  man  entertains  good  wishes 
to  all  around  him,  the  more  will  he  render  others 
happy,  and  the  more  happiness  will  he  himself  enjoy. 

6th.  To  promote  contentment  and  peace  of  mind, 
Hope  is  indispensably  necessary.  He  who  can  hope 
prolongs  his  existence,  not  merely  in  idea,  but  physi- 
cally, by  the  peace  and  equanimity  which  he  thus 
secures.  —  I  do  not  allude  here  to  hope  within  the 
narrow  boundaries  of  our  present  existence,  but  to 
hope  beyond  the  grave !  In  my  opinion,  hope  in  im- 
mortality is  the  only  hope  that  can  make  life  of  any 
value,  and  render  the  burdens  of  it  easy  and  support- 
able. —  Hope  and  Faith,  ye  great  and  divine  virtues ! 
who,  without  you,  is  able  to  wander  through  a  life  so 


CONTENTMENT   AND   JOY.  291 

full  of  error  and  deceit,  whose  beginning,  as  well  as 
end,  is  involved  in  thick  darkness ;  the  duration  of 
which  is  a  moment,  and  in  which  we  scarcely  begin  to 
look  forwards  to  futurity  when  we  are  swallowed  up 
by  destruction.  Ye  are  the  only  supports  of  the  waver- 
ing ;  the  greatest  revivers  of  the  weary  traveller. 
Those  who  do  not  honor  you  as  exalted  virtues,  must  em- 
brace you  as  indispensable  assistants  in  this  terrestrial 
life,  and  endeavor  to  be  strong  in  you  through  a  love 
for  themselves,  if  not  through  a  love  for  the  things  that 
are  invisible.  —  In  this  respect  one  can  say  that  re- 
ligion itself  may  be  a  means  for  prolonging  life.  The 
more  it  subdues  the  passions,  promotes  self-denial,  pro- 
duces internal  tranquillity,  and  enlivens  the  above  con- 
soling truths,  the  more  will  it  serve  to  extend  the 
period  of  mortal  existence. 

Joy,  also,  is  one  of  the  greatest  panaceas  of  life. 
One  must  not,  however,  believe  that  it  is  always  ne- 
cessary to  excite  it  by  sought-for  events  and  fortunate 
incidents.  By  that  frame  of  mind  which  I  have  al- 
ready delineated,  people  may  be  rendered  susceptible 
of  it ;  and  those  who  have  attained  to  that  happy  dis- 
position will  never  want  opportunities  of  rejoicing. 
But  one  should  never  neglect  to  seek  and  employ 
every  occasion  of  indulging  in  joy  that  is  pure  aifd  not 
too  violent.  No  joy  is  more  healthful,  or  better  calcu- 
lated to  prolong  life,  than  that  which  is  to  be  found  in 
domestic  happiness,  in  the  company  of  cheerful  and 
good  men,  and  in  contemplating  with  delight  the  beau- 
ties of  Nature.  A  day  spent  in  the  country,  under 
a  serene  sky,  amidst  a  circle  of  agreeable  friends,  is 
certainly  a  more  positive  means  of  prolonging  life  than 


292  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

all  the  vital  elixirs  in  the  world.  —  Laughter,  that  ex- 
ternal expression  of  joy,  must  not  here  be  omitted, 
It  is  the  most  salutary  of  all  the  bodily  movements ; 
for  it  agitates  both  the  body  and  the  soul  at  the  same 
time ;  promotes  digestion,  circulation,  and  respiration ; 
and  enlivens  the  vital  power  in  every  organ. 

The  higher  pursuits  and  employment  of  the  mind 
deserve  here  a  place  also  ;  but  I  must  remark,  that  it  \ 
will  be  necessary  to  observe  those  prudential  rules, 
which  I  have  already  laid  down,  to  prevent  an  abuse 
of  them.  These  higher  enjoyments  and  pleasures  are 
entirely  peculiar  to  man,  and  an  important  source  of 
vital  restoration.  Among  these  I  reckon,  above  all, 
the  reading  of  agreeable  and  instructive  books;  the 
study  of  interesting  sciences  ;  contemplating  Nature, 
and  examining  her  secrets ;  the  discovering  of  new 
truths,  by  the  combination  of  ideas,  improving  con- 
versation, etc. 


CHAPTER   XIV. 

Reality  of  character. 

IT  is  well  known  how  extremely  prejudicial  to  life  is 
that  occupation  which  renders  it  necessary  for  a  man  to 
exist  some  hours  daily  in  an  assumed  state,  not  natural 
to  him,  I  mean  the  employment  of  a  player. 

What  then  must  the  case  be  with  those  people  who 
always  carry  on  a  like  occupation,  who  are  continually 
acting  this  or  the  other  feigned  part  on  the  grand  thea- 
tre of  the  world,  and  who  never  really  are  what  they 
appear  to  be?  Those  indeed  who  are  deceitful,  live 
always  under  disguise,  restraint,  and  a  false  character. 
They  may  be  found,  above  all,  among  the  over  refined 
and  too  highly  cultivated  classes  of  mankind :  but  I  am 
acquainted  with  no  condition  more  unnatural. 

It  is  bad  enough  to  be  obliged  to  wear  clothes  not 
made  for  us,  which  everywhere  pinch  and  confine  us, 
and  which  render  every  movement  painful.  But  what 
is  this  to  wearing  a  false  character;  to  a  moral 
restraint,  where  our  words,  conduct,  gestures,  and  ac- 
tions, are  in  continual  opposition  to  our  internal  feel- 
ings and  wishes ;  where  we  violently  suppress  our 
strongest  natural  propensities,  and  assume  foreign  ones  ; 
and  where  we  are  obliged  to  keep  continually  strained, 
every  nerve  and  every  vessel,  in  order  to  carry  on  that 
deception  which  is  our  whole  existence  ?  Such  a  false 


294  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG   LIFE. 

state  is  nothing  else  than  a  continual  cramp ;  and  this 
is  proved  by  the  consequences.  An  incessant  restless- 
ness and  anxiety,  deranged  circulation  and  digestion, 
continued  contradiction  both  physical  and  moral,  are 
its  unavoidable  effects.  In  the  end,  it  becomes  impossi- 
ble for  these  unfortunate  men  to  lay  aside  this  assumed 
character ;  so  that  it  becomes  a  second  nature.  They 
are  at  length  lost,  and  cannot  again  find  themselves. 
In  a  word,  this  false  state  keeps  up  continually  a  secret 
nervous  fever.  Internal  irritation,  and  external  cramp, 
are,  both,  parts  of  it ;  and  it  must  lead  to  destruction 
and  the  grave,  the  only  place  where  such  wretched  be- 
ings can  hope  ever  to  lay  aside  the  mask. 


CHAPTER  XV. 

Agreeable  stimulants  of  the  senses  and  of  sensation 
moderately  used. 

THESE  have  a  double  effect  in  the  prolongation  of 
life.  In  the  first  place,  by  their  immediate  influence 
on  the  vital  power,  they  enliven,  strengthen,  and  exalt 
it ;  and,  secondly,  by  increasing  the  activity  of  the 
whole  machine,  they  put  into  much  greater  activity  the 
organs  of  digestion,  circulation,  and  secretion,  which 
perform  the  most  important  functions  of  restoration. 
A  certain  cultivation  and  refinement  of  our  sensibility 
is  therefore  healthful  and  necessary ;  because  it  renders 
us  more  susceptible  of  these  enjoyments ;  only  it  must 
not  be  carried  too  far,  else  it  may  become  a  disease. 
In  stimulating  the  senses  also  great  care  must  be  taken 
not  to  exceed  the  proper  measure ;  for  the  same  enjoy- 
ment which,  when  used  in  a  moderate  degree,  is  capa- 
ble of  restoring,  may,  if  used  too  much,  consume  and 
exhaust. 

All  agreeable  stimulants,  which  can  affect  us  through 
the  sight,  hearing,  smell,  taste,  and  feeling,  may  be  in- 
cluded under  this  head ;  and  therefore  the  pleasures  of 
music,  painting,  and  the  other  imitative  arts,  poetry, 
etc.,  as  they  can  exalt  and  renew  these  enjoyments. 
In  the  present  view,  however,  it  appears  to  me  that 
Music  deserves  the  preference,  because  no  mental  im- 


296  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

pression  can  have  so  speedy  and  immediate  an  effect  in 
tuning,  enlivening,  and  regulating  the  vital  operations. 
Our  whole  frame  assumes  spontaneously  the  tone  and 
character  of  the  music;  the  pulse  becomes  either 
quicker,  or  more  calm ;  the  passions  are  roused,  or  soft- 
ened, according  to  the  will  of  this  language  of  the  soul, 
which,  without  words,  merely  through  the  power  of 
melody  and  harmony,  acts  immediately  upon  our  most 
internal  organs,  and  by  these  means  enchants  us  often 
more  irresistibly  than  eloquence  itself.  It  is  much  to 
be  wished  that  the  study  of  music  in  this  view  were 
more  common,  and  that  it  were  more  employed  for 
such  a  noble  purpose. 


CHAPTER   XVI. 

Preventing  diseases.    Judicious  treatment  of  them.    Proper  use  of 
medicine  and  physicians. 

DISEASES,  as  has  been  already  shown,  belong  for 
the  most  part,  to  those  causes  which  shorten  life,  and 
are  even  capable  of  breaking  the  vital  thread  abruptly. 
The  business  of  medicine  is  to  guard  against  these,  as 
well  as  to  cure  them :  and  so  far  medicine  may  be 
considered  and  employed  as  a  mean  for  prolonging  life. 

But  error,  here,  is  too  common.  Sometimes  it  is  be- 
lieved that  this  beneficial  art  can  never  be  sufficiently 
employed,  and  that  people  can  never  take  too  many 
medicines.  Sometimes  it  is  so  much  abhorred,  as  some- 
thing unnatural,  that  too  few  are  used ;  and  sometimes 
the  falsest  conceptions  are  formed  of  medicine,  as  well 
as  of  physicians ;  and  both  are  employed  in  an  impro- 
per manner.  To  this  may  be  added,  in  modern  times, 
a  multitude  of  popular  books,  by  which  a  great  deal  of 
crude,  undigested  information  on  medical  subjects  has 
been  diffused  among  the  public ;  and  hence  a  greater 
misapplication  of  medicine  has  been  occasioned,  and  the 
utmost  injury  to  the  health  of  mankind  in  general. 

It  is  impossible  for  every  one  to  be  a  physician. 
Physic  is  a  science  so  extensive  and  difficult,  that  it  re- 
quires close  and  long-continued  study,  and  even  a  pecu- 
liar formation  of  mind  and  of  the  higher  powers  of  the 


298  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

soul.  An  acquaintance  with  the  rules  and  means  for 
curing  diseases  does  not  form  a  physician,  as  some  im- 
agine. These  rules  and  means  are  the  result  of  medi- 
cal experience  ;  and  he  only  who  can  perceive  the  con- 
nection of  them  with  the  causes  of  disease,  and  the 
whole  chain  of  grounds  and  inferences  from  which  they 
are  deduced,  in  a  word,  who  can  himself  discover  these 
means,  deserves  to  be  called  a  physician.  From  this 
it  appears  that  the  art  of  medicine  never  can  be  known 
by  the  generality  of  the  public. 

That  branch  of  the  medical  art  only  which  teaches 
an  acquaintance  with  the  human  body,  so  far  as  it 
may  be  useful  for  every  man  to  know,  and  the  method 
and  manner  of  guarding  against  diseases  and  preserv- 
ing health,  both  individually  and  generally,  can,  or 
ought  to,  form  a  part  of  that  instruction  and  informa- 
tion which  should  be  communicated  to  the  public. 
This  is  evident  from  the  simple  idea  of  disease,  and  the 
helps  to  be  applied.  What  is  meant  by  administering 
medicines  and  curing  diseases  ?  Nothing  else  than  by 
an  unusual  impression  to  produce  an  unusual  change 
in  the  human  body,  by  which  an  unnatural  state  named 
disease  may  be  removed.  Disease  and  the  operation 
of  medicines  are  each  an  unnatural  state ;  and  the  ap- 
plication of  medicine  is  nothing  else  than  exciting  an 
artificial  disease,  in  order  to  expel  one  that  is  natu- 
ral. This  may  be  seen  when  a  man  in  good  health 
takes  physic,  which  will  always  render  him  ill  in  a 
greater  or  less  degree.  The  use  of  medicine  is,  there- 
fore, of  itself  prejudicial ;  and  can  be  excused  and  ren- 
dered healthful  only  when  a  more  diseased  state  of  the 
body  is  thereby  removed.  This  right  of  making  one's 


JUDICIOUS    APPLICATION    OF    MEDICINE.         299 

self  or  others  sick  artificially,  ought  never  to  be  exer- 
cised but  by  those  who  are  sufficiently  able  to  discover 
what  proportion  the  disease  may  bear  to  the  means ; 
consequently,  by  physicians ;  otherwise  it  may  happen 
that,  when  the  means  perhaps  are  altogether  unneces- 
sary, one  may  be  rendered  ill ;  or  that  the  means  will 
not  be  suited  to  the  disease,  and  therefore  the  poor 
patient  must  suffer  under  two  maladies  instead  of  hav- 
ing one  ;  or  that  the  means  may  promote  and  increase 
the  diseased  state  already  existing.  In  cases  of  disease 
it  will  be  far  better  to  use  no  medicine  at  all,  than  to 
employ  that  which  is  not  proper. 

As  none,  therefore,  but  people  regularly  bred,  ought 
to  be  allowed  to  practise  medicine,  this  important  ques- 
tion arises  :  How  must  medicine  be  used  when  we  wish 
to  employ  it  as  the  means  of  prolonging  life  ?  In  order 
to  answer  the  above  question,  I  shall  here  give  some 
general  rules  and  definitions. 

But,  first,  let  me  be  permitted  to  say  a  few  words  on 
a  part  of  this  research,  which,  though  most  interesting 
to  the  physician,  is  of  too  much  importance  even  to 
others  to  be  passed  over  in  silence.  I  mean,  How  does 
the  practice  of  physic,  in  general,  contribute  to  the  pro- 
longation of  life  ?  Can  one  consider  it  absolutely  as  a 
means  for  prolonging  our  existence  ?  Without  doubt 
we  can,  so  far  as  it  cures  disorders  that  might  destroy 
us,  —  but  not  always  in  other  respects:  and  I  shall 
here  add,  for  the  consideration  of  my  medical  brethren, 
a  few  observations  which  may  show  that  to  restore 
health  and  prolong  life  are  not  the  same  ;  and  that  the 
point  is  not  merely  to  cure  a  disease,  but  how  it  is  cured. 
First,  it  is  certain,  from  what  has  been  said,  that  medi- 


300  MEANS  WHICH  PROLONG  LIFE. 

cine  operates  by  occasioning  an  artificial  illness.  Every 
disease  is  attended  with  irritation  and  a  loss  of  power* 
If  the  medicine,  therefore,  be  more  powerful  than  the 
disease,  the  patient  will  be  cured ;  but  he  will  be  more 
weakened  by  the  process  of  the  cure,  and  more  will  be 
deducted  from  the  duration  of  his  life  than  would  have 
been  taken  from  it  by  the  disease.  This  is  the  case 
when  people,  on  trifling  occasions,  employ  immediately 
the  most  powerful. and  the  most  violent  medicines.  Se- 
condly, a  disease  may  be  cured  by  various  ways  and 
methods.  The  difference  is,  that  one  leads  the  crisis 
sometimes  to  one  part,  and  sometimes  to  another ;  or 
that  the  disorder  is  removed  sooner  by  one  method,  and 
more  slowly  by  another.  These  different  modes  of 
cure  may  all,  however,  lead  to  a  restoration  of  health, 
but  be  of  very  different  effect  in  regard  to  the  prolon- 
gation of  life.  The  more  a  cure  allows  the  disease  to 
continue,  and  to  weaken  the  powers  and  the  organs ; 
or  the  more  it  affects  the  organs  necessary  for  life,  or 
conducts  the  disease  thither,  and  consequently  impedes 
afterwards  vital  restoration  (as  for  example,  when  the 
important  system  of  digestion  is  made  the  seat  of  the 
disease,  and  weakened  by  powerful  remedies)  ;  or  lastly, 
the  more  a  cure  wastes  unnecessarily  the  vital  power  in 
general,  as  by  too  profusely  bleeding,  withdrawing 
the  usual  nourishment  too  incessantly,  etc.,  the  more 
will  it  weaken  the  grounds  of  longevity,  even  though  it 
may  remove  the  disease.  Thirdly,  one  must  never  for- 
get that  disease  itself  may  be  useful  and  necessary  for 
prolonging  life.  There  are  many  diseases  which  are 
nothing  else  than  an  exertion  of  Nature  to  restore  equili- 
brium that  has  been  destroyed,  to  evacuate  corrupted 


PREVENTION    OF   DISEASES.  301 

matter,  or  to  dissipate  obstructions.  If  a  physician, 
therefore,  (according  to  the  true  Brownonian  method,) 
does  nothing  more  than  check  the  disease  from  showing 
itself  outwardly,  without  paying  attention  to  remote 
causes  and  consequences,  he  only  destroys  the  active 
counteraction  of  Nature,  by  which  it  endeavors  to  re- 
move the  real  disease  :  he  quenches  the  fire  outwardly, 
but  suffers  it  to  burn  more  violently  within.  He  nour- 
ishes the  germ,  the  material  cause  of  the  evil,  which 
perhaps  would  have  been  banished  by  this  process  of 
Nature  had  it  been  suffered  to  be  completed,  and  ren- 
ders it  stronger  and  more  incurable.  We  have  too 
many  instances  of  patients  who  believed  themselves 
perfectly  cured  of  a  fever  or  the  dysentery,  and  who 
afterwards  became  hectic,  or  fell  into  the  hypochon- 
driasis,  nervous  weakness  and  the  like.  No  one  will 
deny  that  such  a  cure,  though  it  seems  for  the  present 
to  restore  the  patient  to  health,  may  nevertheless 
shorten  the  duration  of  his  life. 

I  shall  now  proceed  to  answer  a  question  which  con- 
cerns those  only  who  are  not  physicians  :  By  what  means 
can  diseases  be  prevented;  how  ought  those  which  have 
already  appeared  to  be  treated;  and,  in  particular,  how 
ought  physicians  and  the  medical  art  to  be  employed  in' 
order  to  contribute  in  the  highest  degree  possible  to  the 
support  and  prolongation  of 'life  ? 

But  let  me  first  speak  of  the  means  to  be  used  for 
preventing  diseases.  As  there  are  two  things  which 
belong  to  the  origin  of  every  disease,  the  cause  that 
excites  it,  and  the  capacity  of  the  body  for  being 
affected  by  this  cause,  there  are  two  ways  by  which 
disease  may  be  prevented,  either  to  remove  that  cause, 


302  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

or  to  destroy  the  sensibility  of  the  body  in  regard  to  it ; 
and  upon  this  is  founded  the  whole  medical  dietetic,  and 
all  the  preventative  methods.  The  first  method  which 
has  been  most  commonly  pursued,  is  the  most  uncer- 
tain ;  for,  as  long  as  we  are  not  able  to  alter  our  mode 
of  living,  it  will  be  impossible  to  guard  against  every 
cause  of  disease;  and  the  more  we  deviate  from  it, 
the  more  we  shall  be  affected  by  them  when  they 
attack  us.  For  instance,  cold  never  hurts  any  one  so 
much  as  those  who,  in  general,  keep  themselves  ex- 
ceedingly warm.  Far  better  is  the  second  method, 
to  endeavor  to  guard  against  £hose  causes  of  disease 
which  can  be  avoided;  and  to  accustom  one's  self  to 
the  rest,  in  order  that  the  body  may  be  rendered  insen- 
sible to  them. 

The  principal  causes  of  disease,  which  can, -in  a  great 
measure,  be  guarded  against,  are,  intemperance  in  eat- 
ing and  drinking,  immoderate  enjoyment  of  physical 
love,  great  heat  and  cold,  or  a  sudden  transition  from 
the  one  to  the  other;  passions,  violent  exertion  of 
the  mind,  too  much  or  too  little  sleep,  checked  evacua- 
tions, and  poisons. 

One  ought,  however,  to  render  the  body  less  sus- 
ceptible of  these  causes,  or  to  harden  it  pathologically ; 
and  for  that  purpose  I  recommend  the  following 
means :  First,  the  daily  enjoyment  of  free  air.  In 
good  or  bad  weather,  during  rain,  wind  or  snow,  the 
excellent  practice  of  walking  or  riding  for  a  few  hours 
in  the  open  air,  must  be  continued  every  day  without 
exception.  This  will  contribute  in  an  incredible  degree 
to  harden  the  constitution,  and  to  promote  longevity; 
and,  when  done  daily,  the  body  will  soon  become  so 


PREVENTION    OF    DISEASES.  303 

strong  as  to  be  affected  by  no  kind  of  weather.  It  is 
to  be  recommended,  therefore,  in  particular,  to  those 
who  are  subject  to  the  gout  and  the  rheumatism. 
Secondly,  to  wash  daily  the  whole  body  with  cold 
water ;  not  to  keep  one's  self  too  warm ;  and  to  pre- 
serve the  activity  of  the  body.  Never  let  the  body 
sink  into  too  passive  a  state,  but  endeavor,  by  muscular 
motion,  friction,  and  gymnastic  exercises,  to  keep  up  in 
it  a  kind  of  counteraction.  The  more  passive  the 
body  is,  the  more  susceptible  will  it  be  of  disease. 
Lastly,  a  certain  freedom  and  immunity  from  restraint 
in  your  way  of  life ;  that  is  to  say,  do  not  bind  your- 
self too  rigidly  to  certain  rules  and  habits,  but  allow 
yourself  a  moderate  indulgence.  Those  who  confine 
themselves  with  too  much  severity  to  order  and  r  ^gi- 
men,  be  they  ever  so  good,  make  themselves  thereby 
more  susceptible  of  disease ;  for  if  they  deviate  in  the 
least  from  what  is  now  become  to  them  a  second  nature, 
some  kind  of  indisposition  will  be  the  consequence.  A 
little  irregularity,  by  the  gentle  revolutions  which  it 
effects  in  the  body,  may  be  of  great  use  in  purifying, 
opening,  and  dissipating;  and  even  pernicious  things 
lose  a  great  deal  of  their  noxious  quality  when  one  is 
accustomed  to  them.  A  little  less  sleep  than  usual ; 
to  drink  sometimes  a  glass  more  than  common;  to 
eat  a  little  more  food,  or  substances  harder  of  digestion ; 
to  expose  oneself  to  cold  or  heat  by  riding,  dancing, 
and  the  like ;  to  take  exercise  till  one  is  tired,  and 
sometimes  to  fast  a  day,  are  all  means,  therefore,  that 
contribute  to  harden  the  body,  and  which  give  more 
latitude  to  the  health,  as  they  free  it  from  too  slavish  a 


304  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

dependence  on  the  uniformity  of  habit,  to  which  it  is 
not  always  possible  for  us  to  be  confined. 

A  grand  point  in  guarding  against  disease  is,  that 
every  one  should  try  to  discover  to  what  malady  he 
is  constitutionally  most  disposed,  in  order  that  this 
tendency  may  be  destroyed,  or  at  least  that  all  oppor- 
tunity of  its  being  converted  into  disease  may  be  re- 
moved. On  this  is  grounded  individual  regimen ;  and 
every  man  ought  to  observe  that  which  is  proper  for 
him,  so  far  as  to  counteract  his  particular  morbific  dis- 
position. To  inquire  into  and  determine  this  point  is 
indeed  the  business  principally  of  the  medical  practi- 
tioner ;  and  I  am  therefore  of  opinion,  that  people,  on 
a  subject  of  so  much  moment,  should  consult  an  intelli- 
gent physician,  and  allow  him  to  judge  what  diseases 
they  have  the  greatest  disposition  to,  and  what  regi- 
men may  be  best  suited  for  them.  In  this  respect  the 
ancients  were  more  prudent  than  we.  They  employed 
the  medical  art  and  physicians  chiefly  for  determining 
their  dietetic  mode  of  life ;  and  even  their  astrological, 
chi  romantic,  and  other  researches  of  the  like  kind, 
tended,  at  bottom,  to  define  the  moral  and  physical 
character  of  man,  and  to  prescribe  for  him  accordingly 
a  proper  mode  of  living  and  regimen.  They  undoubt- 
edly did  much  better  in  thus  employing  their  physi- 
cians than  if  they  had  run  to  them  every  week  to  make 
them  prescribe  for  them  purgatives  or  emetics.  But 
for  this  purpose  a  judicious,  prudent,  and  acute  physi- 
cian is  necessary ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  any  em* 
piric  is  capable  of  writing  a  prescription.  These  people, 
at  any  rate,  had  a  surer  means  of  distinguishing  a  false 
from  a  true  prophet. 


KNOWLEDGE    OP    THE    CONSTITUTION.  305 

That  those  unacquainted  with  the  medical  art  may 
be  enabled,  as  much  as  possible,  to  determine  the  na- 
ture of  their  constitution,  and  what  tendency  it  has  to 
disease,  I  shall  here  give  the  following  rules  :  — 

1st.  Examine  what  disposition  to  disease  you  inherit 
from  your  parents.  There  are  certain  morbific  ten- 
dencies which  may  be  communicated  by  generation, 
such  as  to  the  gout,  indigestion,  nervous  weakness,  and 
consumption.  If  these  evils  have  taken  root  in  the 
parents,  there  is  great  reason  to  suspect  a  disposition 
to  them  in  the  children.  By  a  proper  regimen  they 
can,  however,  be  prevented  from  attaining  to  a  great 
height. 

2nd.  A  disposition  to  some  disorders  may  be  created 
by  the  first  treatment  in  infancy ;  especially  if  a  child 
be  kept  too  warm,  which  excites  a  tendency  to  perspi- 
ration, renders  the  skin  flaccid,  and,  by  these  means, 
disposes  the  body  to  rheumatic  disorders.  Too  early 
application  to  learning,  gives  a  tendency  to  nervous 
weakness,  and  diseases  of  the  nerves. 

3rd.  A  tendency  to  certain  diseases  is  connected 
with  some  forms  and  kinds  of  bodily  structure.  Those 
who  are  tall  and  thin,  who  have  a  long  slender  necky 
a  flat  breast,  projecting  shoulders,  and  who  have  grown- 
up suddenly  to  a  great  height,  must  be  on  their  guard 
chiefly  against  consumptions,  and  in  particular  as  long 
as  they  are  under  the  age  of  thirty.  Those  who  have 
a  short  thickset  body,  a  large  thick  head,  with  a  short 
neck,  so  that  the  head  seems  to  be  stuck  between  the 
shoulders,  show  a  disposition  to  apoplexy;  and  must 
beware  of  every  thing  that  may  give  occasion  to  that 
disease.  In  general,  all  overgrown  people  have  a  ten- 
20 


306  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG    LIFE. 

deney  more  or  less  to  consumption  and  disorders  of  the 
breast. 

4th.  Every  man  ought  carefully  to  examine  his  tem- 
perament. If  it  be  sanguine  or  choleric,  it  gives  a 
tendency  to  inflammation ;  but  if  phlegmatic  or  melan- 
cholic, to  chronic  diseases  and  weakness  of  the  nerves. 

5th.  The  climate  also,  and  the  spot  in  which  one 
lives,  may  create  a  tendency  to  disease.  If  they  are 
cold  and  damp,  one  may  rest  assured  that  they  will 
produce  a  disposition  to  nervous  and  bilious  fevers, 
ague,  gout,  and  rheumatism. 

6th.  To  pay  attention,  in  particular,  to  one's  weakest 
part  is  of  importance.  Every  man,  in  a  physical  sense, 
has  his  weak  side ;  and  all  causes  of  disease  are  ac- 
customed, in  general,  to  fix  themselves  in  those  parts 
which  are  by  nature  weakest.  Those,  for  example, 
who  have  weak  lungs,  will  be  affected  chiefly  in  that 
part ;  and  every  thing  almost  will  give  rise  to  a  catarrh 
or  disorder  of  the  chest.  If  the  stomach  be  weak,  it 
will  be  acted  upon  by  every  slight  cause  ;  and  indiges- 
tion, crudity,  and  foulness  of  it  will  be  the  consequence. 
If  one  is  acquainted  with  these  parts,  one  may  contrib- 
ute very  much  to  the  prevention  of  disease,  and  the 
prolongation  of  life ;  partly  by  guarding  them  against 
morbific  causes,  and  partly  by  strengthening  them,  and 
depriving  them  of  their  too  great  sensibility.  As  much 
depends,  therefore,  on  acquiring  the  art  how  to  dis- 
cover the  weakest  parts  of  one's  body,  I  shall  give  the 
following  signs,  which  may  be  understood  by  those 
even  who  are  not  physicians :  —  Observe  on  what 
parts  any  mental  shock,  or  violent  affection,  produces 
the  greatest  effect;  for  these  are  the  weakest.  If 


USES    OF    THE    MEDICAL    ART.  307 

these  causes  immediately  excite  a  cough  or  uneasy 
sensation  in  the  chest,  the  lungs  are  the  part  pointed 
out ;  if  they  occasion  a  compression  of  the  stomach, 
flatulency,  and  the  like,  one  may  be  assured  that  the 
weak  part  is  the  stomach.  Observe  also  where  the 
effects  of  other  morbific  influences  are  reflected;  as, 
for  example,  the  effects  of  a  surfeit,  a  cold,  overheating, 
violent  exercise,  etc.  If  the  chest  be  attacked,  that 
may  be  considered  as  the  weakest  part.  It  is  of  equal 
importance  to  observe  which  way  the  blood  and  juices 
have  the  greatest  tendency  ;  what  parts  are  usually  the 
reddest  and  the  hottest,  and  where  perspiration  appears 
in  the  greatest  abundance ;  for,  there,  if  the  rest  of  the 
body  do  not  perspire,  will  disease  most  readily  fix  itself. 
One  may  also,  in  general,  conclude  that  any  part  wnich 
one  uses  violently  and  immoderately,  or  which  one 
overstrains,  will  become  weaker :  for  example,  the 
brain  among  studious  people ;  the  chest  among  singers ; 
the  stomach  among  gluttons,  etc. 

I  shall  now  proceed  to  answer  the  question,  In  what 
manner  should  a  disease  which  has  already  taken  place 
be  treated,  and  ivhat  use  ought  to  be  made  of  physicians 
and  of  the  medical  art  ?  The  most  important  part  of 
the  answer  may  be  reduced  to  the  following  rules  :  — 

1st.  Never  use  medicine  without  a  sufficient  cause ; 
for,  who  wish  to  make  themselves  sick  unnecessarily  ? 
The  custom,  therefore,  of  purging,  bleeding,  and  the 
like,  at  stated  periods,  merely  for  the  purpose  of  guard- 
ing against  a  possible  evil,  is  highly  prejudicial.  This 
practice  often  gives  rise  to  those  disorders  which  one 
endeavors  to  avoid. 

2d.  It  is  much  better  to  prevent  diseases  than  to  cure 


308  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

them ;  for  the  latter  is  always  connected  with  a  greater 
loss  of  the  powers,  and  consequently  of  vital  duration. 
Let  the  above  means,  therefore,  for  guarding  against 
them  be  carefully  observed. 

3d.  As  soon,  however,  as  disease  makes  its  appear- 
ance, the  greatest  attention  ought  to  be  paid  to  it ;  for 
the  most  trifling  indisposition  may  conceal  under  it  a 
very  serious  malady.  This  is  the  case,  in  particular, 
with  feverish  disorders.  The  commencement  of  them 
is  shown  by  the  following  symptoms :  —  One  experi- 
ences an  uncommon  lassitude  ;  the  appetite  fails,  and 
one  has  a  much  greater  desire  for  drinking ;  the  sleep 
is  interrupted  or  disturbed  by  dreams ;  the  usual  ex- 
cretions are  checked,  or  increased  in  an  unnatural 
manner ;  one  has  no  inclination  for  labor,  and  is  af- 
fected by  headache,  and  a  greater  or  less  degree  of 
coldness,  which  is  followed  by  heat. 

4th.  As  soon  as  one  perceives  these  symptoms, 
nothing  is  so  necessary  as  to  lessen  one's  nourishment, 
which  strengthens  the  disease,  and  to  follow  the  benefi- 
cent instinct  of  Nature,  which  every  animal,  to  its  great 
advantage,  obeys  on  such  occasions.  Let  the  patient 
abstain  from  eating ;  for  Nature,  by  rejecting  food, 
shows  that  she  is  incapable  of  digesting  it ;  and  let  him 
drink  a  little  more  than  usual,  but  only  water,  or  some 
other  light  beverage.  One  ought  also  to  be  kept 
quiet ;  to  lie  in  the  best  position,  for  the  lassitude  suffi- 
ciently shows  that  Nature  requires  her  strength  for 
modifying  the  disease ;  and  one  ought  to  avoid  both 
heat  and  cold,  consequently  should  neither  go  out  into 
the  open  air,  nor  be  shut  up  in  a  warm  apartment. 
These  simple  means,  prescribed  to  us  so  clearly  by 


QUALITIES    OF   A    PHYSICIAN.  309 

Nature  herself,  are  capable,  would  we  only  listen  to 
her  voice,  of  checking  an  infinite  number  of  diseases  in 
their  very  birth.  Old  Macklin,  that  veteran  of  the 
London  stage,  who  died  in  his  99th  year,  used  to  say, 
that,  when  he  found  himself  ill,  during  the  long  course 
of  his  life,  he  always  went  to  bed  —  took  nothing  but 
bread  and  water  —  and  that  by  this  regimen  he  was 
generally  relieved  from  every  slight  indisposition.  I 
knew  a  respectable  magistrate  of  fourscore,  who,  when 
indisposed,  did  nothing  else  than  fast,  smoke  tobacco, 
and  observe  the  above  rules  ;  by  which  means  he  had 
never  occasion  for  medicine. 

5th.  If  one  has  an  opportunity  of  conversing  with  a 
physician,  he  ought  to  be  consulted,  not  so  much 
respecting  prescriptions,  as  the  state  of  one's  body. 
Should  such  an  opportunity  be  wanting,  it  is  much  bet- 
ter to  prevent  by  the  negative  method  an  increase  of 
the  disease,  than  to  employ  any  thing  positive,  which 
may  perhaps  do  hurt.  No  medicine,  indeed,  ought  to 
be  considered  as  a  matter  of  indifference.  Purgatives 
even,  if  used  at  an  improper  time,  may  be  highly  pre- 
judicial. If  my  readers  be  desirous  of  knowing  the 
most  harmless,  it  is  a  teaspoonful  of  cream  of  tartar 
stirred  round  in  a  glass  of  water;  or  the  following 
draught,  which  certainly  is  one  of  the  most  general 
remedies  for  feverish  disorders :  —  Take  half  an  ounce 
of  cream  of  tartar,  and  boil  it  with  six  pounds  of  water, 
in  a  new  earihen  pot,  until  the  powder  is  wholly  dis- 
solved. After  it  is  taken  from  the  fire,  add  to  it  an 
orange  cut  into  slices,  with  from  an  ounce  and  a  half  to 
three  ounces  of  sugar,  according  to  taste,  and  then  put 
it  into  bottles  for  use.  This  may  serve  as  one's  com- 
mon beverage. 


310  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG    LIFE. 

6th.  Be  ingenuous  with  your  physician,  and  give 
him  a  true  account  of  your  past  life,  so  far  as  it  may 
relate  to  the  disease  ;  and  forget  no  unfavorable  cir- 
cumstance, especially  when  the  case  is  stated  in  writ- 
ing. Avoid,  in  particular,  all  reasoning  on  it,  which  is 
a  common  fault,  or  of  giving  any  representation  accord- 
ing to  a  preconceived  opinion,  but  relate  merely  what 
you  have  observed  in  as  unprejudiced  a  manner  as 
possible. 

7th.  Make  choice  of  a  physician  in  whom  you  can 
place  confidence,  but  none  of  those  who  deal  in  arcana, 
who  are  too  talkative  or  inquisitive,  who  value  them- 
selves above  others,  or  who  endeavor  to  make  the  con- 
duct of  others  appear  in  a  dubious  light;  for  this 
always  betrays  ignorance,  a  bad  head,  or  a  bad  heart ; 
in  short,  none  of  those  who  are  fond  of  prescribing 
strong  powerful  medicines,  or  who,  according  to  the 
common  saying,  will  either  cure  or  kill. 

8th.  Avoid  in  particular  a  physician  whose  princi- 
pal object  in  his  practice  is  avarice  or  ambition.  A 
real  physician  ought  to  have  no  objects  but  the  health 
and  preservation  of  his  patients  ;  any  others  mislead 
him  from  the  true  path,  and  may  be  attended  with  the 
most  prejudicial  consequences  to  those  who  employ 
him.  If  he  happen  to  be  so  situated  with  a  case,  that 
either  his  reputation  or  his  pocket  will  suffer,  if  he 
venture  any  thing  for  the  relief  of  his  patient,  he  will 
certainly  rather  allow  the  patient  to  die  than  lose  his 
reputation.  He  will  also  be  interested  in  the  fate  of 
his  patients,  in  proportion  to  their  rank  and  their 
riches. 

9th.  The  best  physician  is  he  who  is  at  the  same 


SELECTION    OF   A   PHYSICIAN.  311 

time  a  friend.  One  may  be  open-hearted  with  such  a 
man,  and  place  confidence  in  him.  He  is  acquainted 
with  his  patients,  and  observes  them  when  in  a  state  of 
health,  which  is  of  the  utmost  importance  to  enable  him 
to  treat  them  in  a  proper  manner  when  attacked  by 
disease.  In  short,  he  is  strongly  interested  in  their 
condition,  and  will  exert  himself  with  more  activity  and 
attention  to  restore  their  health,  than  the  physician  who 
acts  merely  in  that  capacity.  People,  therefore,  ought 
to  do  every  thing  in  their  power  to  unite  themselves  in 
the  tenderest  bonds  of  friendship  with  their  physician  ; 
and  never  to  dissolve  their  intimacy  by  want  of  confi- 
dence, peevishness,  pride,  or  any  other  impropriety  of 
behavior,  which  is  so  often  shown  towards  physicians, 
but  always  with  more  injury  to  the  patient. 

10th.  Be  greatly  on  your  gaurd  against  any  physi- 
cian who  prepares  and  employs  secret  medicines ;  for 
he  is  either  an  interested  man,  who  values  his  own 
advantage  far  above  the  lives  and  health  of  his  patients, 
or  an  ignorant  impostor ;  and  no  impostor  is  more 
destructive  than  he  who  deprives  you,  not  only  of  your 
money,  but  also  of  your  health.  If  a  secret  be  of  any 
value,  and  useful  to  mankind,  it  should  be  the  property 
of  the  public,  and  ought  to  be  made  known  for  the  gen- 
eral benefit ;  and  he  who  discloses  it  is  entitled  without 
doubt  to  immortal  honor.  Those  also  who  conceal 
such  remedies  do  injury  to  thousands ;  because  people 
cannot  use  them  properly,  not  being  well  enough 
acquainted  with  them  ;  or  because  they  cannot  be  pro- 
cured in  common,  and  be  employed  by  a  judicious  phy- 
sician. 

llth.  Nowhere,  in  general,  ought  one  to  be  more 


312  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

attentive  to  morality  of  character  than  in  the  choice  of 
a  physician  ;  for  where  is  it  more  necessary  ?  If  he  to 
whom  you  blindly  intrust  your  life,  who  is  subject  to 
no  tribunal  but  that  of  his  conscience,  and  who,  to  dis- 
charge in  a  complete  manner  the  duty  of  his  calling, 
must  sacrifice  all  rest  and  pleasure,  nay  his  own  health 
and  life,  if  this  man  do  not  act  according  to  the  pure 
principles  of  morality,  but  makes  policy,  as  it  is  called, 
his  motive,  he  is  a  detestable  and  dangerous  character, 
and  ought  to  be  avoided  with  greater  care  than  the 
most  destructive  disease.  A  physician  without  morals 
is  not  a  nonentity  —  he  is  a  monster. 

12th.  If  people,  however,  meet  with  an  able  and 
honest  physician,  they  ought  to  intrust  themselves  to 
him  with  full  confidence.  This  will  tend  to  make  the 
minds  of  the  patients  quiet,  and  be  of  great  service  to 
assist  the  physician  in  effecting  a  cure.  Many  believe, 
that  the  more  physicians  they  collect  around  them,  the 
more  certain  they  must  be  of  relief ;  but  this  is  a  gross 
error.  I  here  speak  from  experience.  One  physician 
is  better  than  two  —  two  than  three  —  and  so  on  in 
proportion.  In  the  same  ratio  as  physicians  are 
increased  will  the  probability  of  cure  decrease  ;  and 
in  my  opinion,  there  is  a  certain  point  of  medical  over- 
loading, in  which  a  cure  is  physically  impossible. 
Some  cases,  indeed,  may  occur,  but  very  seldom,  in 
which  a  disorder,  by  being  secret  or  complex,  may 
require  a  consultation  of  several.  One,  however, 
ought  to  call  in  only  those  who  are  known  to  be 
judicious  men,  and  who  will  act  in  concert ;  and  to 
employ  such  consultations  for  discovering  and  defining 
the  disease,  and  to  form  a  plan  of  the  method  to  be  fol- 


SELECTION    OF   A   PHYSICIAN.  313 

lowed  in  the  cure.  The  application  of  it  should  always 
be  permitted  to  one,  and  to  that  practitioner  in  whom 
people  have  the  greatest  confidence. 

13th.  One  ought  carefully  to  observe  the  crises,  or 
helps  and  means  of  which  Nature  seems  to  be  fondest, 
and  which  she  perhaps  may  have  employed  on  former 
occasions,  and  whether  she  is  accustomed  to  assist  her- 
self by  perspiration,  diarrhoea,  bleeding  at  the  nose,  or 
otherwise.  The  same  means  one  must  endeavor  to 
promote  in  every  disease  of  the  like  kind ;  and  such 
information  is  of  great  importance  to  the  physician. 

14th.  To  pay  attention  to  cleanliness  is  a  precept 
indispensably  necessary  to  be  observed  in  regard  to 
every  disease ;  for,  by  means  of  dirt,  any  disorder  may 
be  converted  into  one  putrid,  and  far  more  dangerous. 
By  neglecting  this  point,  therefore,  people  injure  not 
only  their  friends  and  relations,  but  also  the  physician, 
who  may  thus  be  deprived  of  his  own  health.  The 
patient's  linen,  on  this  account,  ought  to  be  changed 
daily,  but  at  the  same  time  with  some  caution ;  the  air 
ought  to  be  renewed  in  his  apartment,  and  all  offensive 
matters  should  be  speedily  conveyed  from  it.  As  few 
people  as  possible  should  bfe  suffered  to  continue  in  it ; 
and  all  animals,  flowers,  remains  of  food,  old  clothes, 
and  in  short  every  thing  that  may  produce  evaporation, 
ought  to  be  removed  from  it. 


CHAPTER    XVII. 


Relief  in  cases  where  one  is  exposed  to  the  danger  of  sudden 
death. 


THERE  are  certain  causes  which,  where  the  health  is 
perfectly  sound,  and  where  one  has  the  best  capacity  for 
long  life,  may  suddenly  interrupt  and  destroy  the  vital 
operation.  I  here  allude  to  the  violent  causes  of  sudden 
death  ;  and  as  to  lessen  these,  or  to  render  them  harm- 
less, is  an  important  part  of  the  art  of  preserving  and 
prolonging  life,  I  shall  lay  before  my  readers  what  in- 
formation may  be  necessary  on  the  subject. 

To  this  head  belong  all  violent  kinds  of  death,  which 
may  be  effected  either  by  mechanical  injuries,  or  organic 
derangement ;  and  they  may  all  be  reduced  to  three 
classes.  They  either  render  the  vital  organs  unfit  for 
performing  their  functions  ;  destroy  suddenly  the  vital 
power,  as  lightning,  violent  passion,  and  the  greater  part 
of  poisons ;  or  they  suddenly  destroy  vital  irritability, 
without  the  continual  agency  of  which  there  could  be  no 
vital  exertion. 

The  method  of  counteracting  these  is  twofold.  One 
can  either  guard  against  them  or  destroy  their  effect 
after  they  have  already  begun  to  act. 

I  shall  first  speak  of  the  means  by  which  one  can 
guard  against  them.  It  is  impossible  to  keep  at  a  dis- 
tance all  these  causes  ;  for  they  are  so  connected  with 


RELIEF   IN    CASES    OP    VIOLENT    DEATH.         315 

our  life,  and  in  particular  with  the  employment  of  many, 
that  one  must  resign  life  itself  in  order  to  avoid  them. 
We  can,  however,  procure  to  our  bodies  a  great  degree 
of  immunity  from  them,  and  give  it  some  properties  by 
which  it  will  be  put  in  such  a  condition  as  to  sustain 
little  or  no  hurt  from  them  when  they  approach  it. 
There  is,  therefore,  an  objective  and  a  subjective  art  of 
guarding  against  the  dangers  of  death  ;  and  the  latter  is 
that  in  which  every  one  should  endeavor  to  acquire  a 
certain  degree  of  perfection.  In  my  opinion,  it  is  neces- 
sary for  the  formation  and  education  of  man.  The 
means  are  exceedingly  simple. 

1st.  Endeavor  to  give  to  the  body  the  utmost  possible 
agility  and  readiness  in  all  bodily  exercises.  A  suffi- 
cient cultivation  of  the  corporeal  powers,  by  running, 
climbing,  tumbling,  swimming,  walking  on  any  narrow 
ridge,  etc.  will  be  a  great  means  of  securing  one  from 
dangerous  accidents  ;  and  were  such  a  part  of  education 
more  common,  fewer  people  would  lose  their  lives  by 
drowning,  falls,  and  other  misfortunes  of  the  like  kind. 

2d.  The  judgment  should  be  formed,  and  one's 
knowledge  rectified,  by  the  study  of  natural  philosophy, 
and  natural  history,  in  regard  to  every  pernicious  pow- 
er. To  this  belongs  an  acquaintance  with  the  nature  of 
poisons  ;  the  properties  of  lightning,  and  the  means  of 
avoiding  it ;  the  noxious  quality  and  effects  of  mephitic 
air,  frost,  etc.  To  give  sufficient  cautions  on  this  sub- 
ject, it  would  be  necessary  for  me  to  write  a  whole 
treatise ;  and  I  sincerely  wish  that  some  one  would 
undertake  such  a  work,  and  that  it  may  be  introduced 
into  schools. 

3d.  Endeavor  to  render  the  mind  intrepid ;  to  give  it 


316  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

strength  and  philosophical  equanimity  ;  and  accustom  it 
to  sudden  and  unexpected  events.  This  will  be  doubly 
beneficial.  One  will  thereby  guard  against  the  physical 
injury  of  sudden  and  alarming  impressions,  and  will 
have  more  presence  of  mind  to  pursue  the  means  proper 
to  be  used  in  cases  of  sudden  danger. 

4th.  Give  to  the  body  a  sufficient  degree  of  harden- 
ing against  cold  and  heat,  or  any  changes  of  the  like 
kind.  Those  who  possess  this  property  will  be  able  to 
brave  death  on  many  occasions,  when  others  will  be 
obliged  to  submit  to  it. 

But,  in  regard  to  the  danger  of  death  actually  existing : 
What  is  to  be  done  in  cases  of  drowning,  hanging,  suffo- 
cation, poisoning,  or  being  struck  with  lightning,  etc.  ? 
Even  here  there  are  means  by  which  persons  appar- 
ently dead  have  been  happily  brought  again  to  life ; 
and  this  is  a  part  of  medicine  which  every  man  should 
understand,  for  such  accidents  may  occur  to  every  one, 
and  every  thing  depends  on  assistance  being  given 
speedily.  In  cases  of  so  much  danger,  each  moment  is 
precious ;  and  the  simplest  means  employed  imme- 
diately, may  effect  more  than  the  whole  wisdom  of  an 
JEsculapius  could  half  an  hour  later.  He  who  first 
arrives  when  an  accident  has  taken  place  should  con- 
sider it  as  his  duty  to  apply  help  instantaneously,  and 
carefully  reflect  that  the  life  of  an  unfortunate  being 
may  depend  on  a  minute  sooner  or  later. 

The  violent  kinds  of  death,  in  regard  to  their  treat- 
ment, may  be  divided  into  three  classes. 

The  first  class  comprehends  suffocation  by  hanging, 
drowning,  or  foul  air,  and  death,  or  the  being  struck  by 
lightning,  with  the  mode  of  treatment.  The  first  and 


BELIEF   IN    CASES    OF   VIOLENT   DEATH.         317 

most  effectual  means  in  such  cases  are  the  follow- 
ing: — 

1st.  Be  as  expeditious  as  you  can  to  draw  the  body 
from  the  water,  or  to  cut  the  rope,  in  a  word,  to  remove 
the  cause  of  death.  This  alone  is  sufficient  to  save  the 
unfortunate  person,  if  it  be  done  speedily ;  but  attention 
to  that  point  is  too  much  neglected.  In  most  places, 
apparatus  is  kept  for  giving  relief  in  such  cases ;  but 
people  in  general  are  so  slow  in  applying  it,  that  one 
might  believe  it  intended  rather  for  the  funeral  cere- 
mony, than  for  saving  the  life  of  a  fellow-creature.  I 
am,  therefore,  fully  convinced,  that  better  machinery 
for  dragging  up  the  bodies  of  drowned  persons  would 
be  far  more  valuable  than  all  the  apparatus  for  restoring 
suspended  animation;  and  when  one  sees  how  unwil- 
lingly and  in  how  awkward  a  manner  people  undertake 
this  business,  how  averse  they  are  to  it,  and  what  pre- 
judice prevails  against  it,  one  will  not  wonder  that  so 
few  unfortunate  persons  should  be  saved  in  Germany. 
I  must  therefore  entreat  all  governments  to  endeavor 
to  bring  this  part  of  the  establishment  for  restoring  life 
to  greater  perfection ;  and  here  I  include  rooting  out 
prejudice,*  disputes  respecting  jurisdiction,  the  payment 
of  the  reward,  and  the  punishment  of  voluntary  delay. 

2d.  The  body  should  be  immediately  stripped,  and 

*  Of  this  kind  is  the  shameful  dread  of  the  dishonor  and  dis- 
grace which  attend  the  touching  of  such  unfortunate  people  ;  tho 
diabolical  superstition  of  many  fishermen,  that  one  must  not  draw 
the  body  of  a  drowned  person  from  the  water  before  sunset,  in 
order  that  the  fish  may  not  be  frightened  away ;  or  that  some 
rivers  must  have  an  annual  offering  ;  and  other  ideas  of  the  like 
kind,  which  prevail  among  the  vulgar  much  more  than  one  might 
imagine. 


318  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

every  endeavor  should  be  made,  as  speedily  as  possible, 
to  excite  in  it  a  general  warmth.  Heat  is  the  first  and 
most  general  stimulus  of  life.  The  same  means  which 
Nature  employs  to  quicken  life  in  the  beginning,  are 
also  the  most  powerful  to  produce  life  a  second  time. 
The  best  thing  for  that  purpose  is  the  tepid  bath  ;  but 
if  this  cannot  be  had,  the  patient  may  be  covered  with 
warm  sand,  ashes,  or  thick  blankets  in  a  bed ;  and  hot 
stones  should  be  applied  to  various  parts  of  the  body. 
Without  these  means,  all  others  will  be  of  little  avail ; 
and  it  is  much  better  to  warm  thoroughly  persons  ap- 
parently dead,  than  to  use  cupping,  friction,  or  the  like, 
and  at  the  same  time  to  suffer  them  to  become  stiff  with 
cold. 

3d.  To  convey  air  into  the  lungs  is  the  next  process 
in  point  of  importance,  and  may  be  connected  with  the 
excitation  of  heat.  It  is,  indeed,  most  beneficial  when 
it  is  done  with  oxygen  gas  by  means  of  a  pipe  and  a 
pair  of  bellows.  But  in  urgent  cases,  and  to  save  pre- 
cious time,  it  will  be  sufficient  if  one  presses  on  the  chest 
so  as  to  expel  the  air  which  it  contains,  and  then,  by 
withdrawing  the  pressure,  allows  it  to  expand  by  its 
own  elasticity,  and  thus  fill  the  lungs  with  air.  This 
should  be  done  with  regularity,  so  as  to  imitate  ordinary 
breathing. 

4th.  Let  fall  now  and  then,  from  a  certain  height, 
drops  of  frigid  water  or  wine  on  the  pit  of  the  stomach. 
This  sometimes  has  given  the  first  stimulus  to  restore 
the  motion  of  the  heart. 

5th.  Rub  with  a  cloth  or  flesh-brush  the  hands  and 
soles  of  the  feet,  the  belly  and  the  back :  irritate  the 
sensible  parts  of  the  body,  such  as  the  soles  of  the  feet 


SUSPENDED    ANIMATION.  319 

and  hollow  of  the  hands,  by  friction  with  stimulating 
oils ;  the  nose  and  throat,  by  means  of  a  feather,  or  by 
holding  to  the  nostrils,  and  dropping  on  the  tongue, 
volatile  spirit  of  ammonia,  etc. 

6th.  Ad  soon  as  signs  of  life  begin  to  appear,  pour  a 
spoonful  of  good  wine  into  the  mouth ;  and  when  the 
patient  swallows  it,  repeat  the  same  thing  often.  In 
cases  of  necessity  brandy  may  be  used,  but  mixed  with 
two-thirds  of  water. 

7th.  For  those  who  have  been  struck  by  lightning, 
the  earth  bath  is  to  be  recommended.  The  body  may 
be  either  laid,  with  the  mouth  open,  against  a  spot  of 
earth  newly  dug  up,  or  fresh  earth  may  be  scraped 
round  it  up  to  the  neck. 

If  these  simple  means,  which  every  one  can  anl 
ought  to  use  in  regard  to  his  fellow-citizens,  when  ex- 
posed to  the  danger  of  sudden  death,  be  speedily  em- 
ployed, they  will  be  of  more  service  than  the  most  com- 
plete apparatus  applied  half  an  hour  later ;  and  at  any 
rate  the  intermediate  time  will  not  be  entirely  lost,  and 
the  feeble  vital  spark  may  be  prevented  from  being 
totally  extinguished. 

In  the  second  class  is  comprehended  those  who  have 
been  frozen.  These  require  a  mode  of  treatment 
entirely  different ;  for  by  warmth  they  would  be  des- 
troyed altogether.  Nothing  further  is  to  be  done  than 
to  immerse  them  in  snow  up  to  the  head ;  or  to  place 
them  in  a  bath  of  the  coldest  water  that  can  be  pro- 
cured without  being  frozen.  Here  life  will  return  of 
itself;  and  as  soon  as  any  signs  of  it  appear,  give  the 
patients  a  little  warm  tea  with  wine,  and  put  them  to 
bed. 


320  MEANS    WHICH    PROLONG   LIFE. 

The  third  class  contains  those  who  have  been  poi- 
soned. It  is  here  to  be  observed,  that  we  are  in  pos- 
session of  two  invaluable  remedies,  proper  for  any 
poison,  which  may  be  everywhere  found,  and  which 
require  no  previous  acquaintance  with  medicine  —  I 
mean  milk  and  oil.  By  the  help  of  these  only,  the  most 
dreadful  of  all  the  kinds  of  poisoning,  that  by  arsenic, 
has  been  cured.  Both  of  them  answer  the  principal 
object,  which  is  to  expel  the  poison,  or  to  destroy  its 
power.  Let  persons  therefore,  who  have  been  poi- 
soned, drink  as  much  milk  as  they  can  (if  it  in  part 
comes  up  again,  so  much  the  better)  ;  and  let  them, 
every  quarter  of  an  hour,  take  a  cupful  of  oil  of  any 
sort ;  for  it  is  all  the  same  whether  it  be  oil  of  linseed, 
almonds,  poppies,  or  common  oil.  If  it  be  known  with 
certainty  that  the  poison  is  arsenic,  corrosive  sublimate, 
or  any  other  metallic  salt,  dissolve  soap  in  water,  and 
let  the  patient  swallow  it.  This  will  be  sufficient  till  a 
physician  arrive,  and  will  often  render  his  assistance 
unnecessary. 


CHAPTER   XVIII. 

Old  age.    Proper  treatment  of  it. 

OLD  age,  though  the  natural  consequence  of  living,, 
and  the  commencement  of  death,  can  itself,  on  the 
other  hand,  be  a  means  for  prolonging  our  existence. 
It  does  not,  however,  increase  the  power  to  live,  but  it 
retards  its  being  exhausted ;  and  one  may  thus  affirm, 
that  a  man  in  the  last  period  of  life,  at  the  time  when 
his  powers  are  lessened,  would,  were  he  not  old,  finish 
his  career  sooner. 

This  position,  which  appears  to  be  somewhat  para- 
doxical, is  confirmed  by  the  following  explanation :  — 
Man,  during  the  period  of  old  age,  has  a  much  smaller 
provision  of  vital  power,  and  much  less  capacity  for 
restoration.     If  he  lived  with  the  same  activity  and 
vigor  as  before,  this  provision  would  be  much  sooner 
exh^isted,  and  death  would  soon  be  the  consequence. 
Now  the  character  of  age  lessens  the  natural  irritability 
and  sensibility  of  the  body,  by  which  the  effects  of  in- 
ternal as  well  as  external  irritation,  and  consequently 
the  exertion  and  wasting  of  the  powers,  are  also  les- 
sened ;  and,  on  this  account,  as  consumption  is  less,  he 
can  with  such  a  stock  of  powers  hold  out  much  longer. 
The  decrease  of  the  intensity  of  the  vital  processes,  as 
age  increases,  prolongs  therefore  vital  duration. 

Irritability  being  thus  lessened,  lessens  also  the  effect 
21 


322  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

of  pernicious  impressions  and  morbid  causes,  such  as 
the  passions,  overheating,  etc.;  it  preserves  likewise 
much  greater  quietness  and  uniformity  in  the  internal 
economy,  and  in  that  manner  secures  the  body  from 
many  diseases.  It  is  observed  that,  for  this  reason 
also,  old  people  are  much  less  attacked  by  infectious 
disorders  than  those  who  are  young. 

To  this  may  be  added  the  habit  of  living,  which, 
without  doubt,  in  the  latter  period  of  one's  days,  con- 
tributes to  the  support  of  life.  An  animal  operation, 
which  one  has  carried  on  so  long,  always  in  the  same 
order  and  succession,  becomes  at  last  so  customary  that 
it  continues  through  habit  when  the  action  of  other 
causes  ceases.  It  is  often  astonishing  how  the  greatest 
debility  of  age  will  hold  out,  provided  every  thing 
remain  in  its  usual  order  and  succession.  The  spirit- 
ual man  is  sometimes  actually  dead;  and  yet  the 
vegetative,  the  man-plant,  still  continues  to  live;  but 
for  the  latter,  indeed,  much  less  is  necessary.  To  this 
habit  of  life  it  is  owing  also  that  a  man,  the  older  he 
grows,  becomes  still  fonder  of  existence. 

If  old  age,  therefore,  be  properly  treated  and  sup- 
ported, it  can  be  employed,  in  some  measure, .  as  a 
means  of  prolonging  life ;  but  as  this  requires  devia- 
tions from  the  general  laws,  I  consider  it  necessary  to 
give  the  rules  proper  to  be  observed. 

The  principal  points  in  this  treatment  are,  that  one 
must  always  endeavor  to  lessen  and  soften  the  increas- 
ing dryness  and  rigidity  of  the  vessels,  which  at  length 
occasion  a  complete  stoppage- of  the  whole  machine; 
that  nourishment  and  restoration  of  what  has  been  lost 
must  be  facilitated  as  much  as  possible ;  that  stronger 


TREATMENT    OF    OLD    AGE.  323 

irritation  must  be  given  to  the  body,  because  the  natu- 
ral irritability  is  so  much  weakened  ;  and  that  one  must 
promote  excretion  of  the  corrupted  particles,  which  in 
old  age  is  so  imperfect,  and  which  therefore  produces 
an  impurity  of  the  juices,  that  accelerates  death.  Upon 
these  are  grounded  the  following  rules :  — 

1st.  As  the  natural  heat  of  the  body  decreases  in  old 
age,  one  must  endeavor  to  support  and  increase  it  ex- 
ternally as  much  as  possible.  Warm  clothing,  warm 
apartments  and  beds,  heating  nourishment,  and,  when 
it  can  be  done,  removal  to  a  warmer  climate,  are  all 
means,  therefore,  that  contribute  greatly  to  the  prolon- 
gation of  life. 

2nd.  The  food  must  be  easy  of  digestion,  rather 
fluid  than  solid ;  abundant  in  concentrated  nourish- 
ment ;  and  at  the  same  time  much  more  stimulating 
than  would  be  advisable  at  an  earlier  period.  Warm, 
strong,  and  well-seasoned  soups,  are,  therefore,  bene- 
ficial to  old  age ;  and  also  tender  roast  meat,  nutritive 
vegetables,  good  nourishing  beer,  and,  above  all,  oily 
generous  wine,  free  from  acid,  earthy  and  watery  par- 
ticles, etc.,  such  as  Tokay,  Spanish,  Cyprus,  and  Cape 
wines.  Wine  of  this  kind  is  one  of  the  most  excellent 
stimulants  of  life,  and  that  best  suited  to  old  age.  It 
does  not  inflame,  but  nourishes  and  strengthens :  it  is 
milk  for  old  people. 

3d.  The  tepid  bath  is  exceedingly  well  calculated  to 
increase  the  natural  heat,  to  promote  excretion,  partic- 
ularly of  the  skin,  and  to  lessen  the  aridity  and  stiffness 
of  the  whole  frame. 

4th.  Guard  against  all  violent  evacuations,  such  as 
letting  blood,  unless  when  required  by  particular  cir- 


324  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

cumstances;  strong  purging,  exciting  perspiration  by 
too  much  heat,  indulging  in  excesses  of  any  kind. 
These  exhaust  the  few  powers  still  remaining,  and 
increase  aridity. 

People,  with  increasing  years,  should  accustom  them- 
selves more  and  more  to  a  certain  order  in  all  the  vital 
operations.  Eating,  drinking,  motion,  and  rest,  the 
evacuations,  and  employment,  must  have  their  deter- 
mined periods  and  succession.  Such  mechanical  order 
and  regularity,  at  this  season  of  life,  may  contribute 
greatly  to  the  prolongation  of  it. 

6th.  The  body,  however,  must  have  exercise,  but  not 
violent  or  exhausting.  That  which  is  rather  passive 
will  be  the  best,  such  as  riding  in  a  carriage,  and  fre- 
quent friction  of  the  whole  skin,  for  which  sweet-scent- 
ed and  strong  ointments  may  be  employed  with  great 
advantage,  in  order  to  lessen  the  rigidity  of  the  skin,  and 
to  preserve  it  in  a  state  of  softness.  Violent  bodily 
shocks  must  in  particular  be  avoided.  These,  in  gene- 
ral, lay  a  foundation  for  the  first  cause  of  death. 

7th.  A  pleasant  frame  of  mind,  and  agreeable  em- 
ployment for  it,  are  here  of  uncommon  utility ;  but  vio- 
lent passions,  which  might  derange  it,  and  which  in  old 
age  may  occasion  instant  death,  ought  to  be  avoided. 
That  serenity  and  contentment  which  are  excited  by 
domestic  felicity,  by  the  pleasant  review  of  a  life 
spent  not  in  vain,  and  by  a  consoling  prospect  of  the 
future  even  on  this  side  the  grave,  are  the  most  salu- 
tary. The  frame  of  mind  best  fitted  and  most  bene- 
.ficial  to  old  age,  is  that  produced  by  intercourse  with 
-children  and  young  people.  Their  innocent  pastime 
and  youthful  frolics  have  something  which  tend,  as  it 


TREATMENT    OF    OLD    AGE.  325 

were,  to  renovate  and  revive.  Hope,  and  extending 
our  views  of  life,  are  in  particular  noble  assistants  for 
this  purpose.  New  proposals,  new  plans  and  under- 
takings, which,  however,  must  be  attended  witn  noth- 
ing dangerous,  or  that  can  create  uneasiness,  in  a 
word  the  means  of  continuing  life  longer  in  idea,  may 
even  contribute  something  towards  the  physical  pro- 
longation of  it.  We  find,  therefore,  that  old  people  are 
impelled  to  this  as  if  by  internal  instinct.  They  begin 
to  build  houses,  to  lay  out  gardens,  etc. ;  and  seem, 
in  this  little  self-deception,  by  which  they  imagine  they 
secure  life,  to  find  an  uncommon  degree  of  pleasure. 


CHAPTER    XIX. 

Cultivation  of  the  mental  and  bodily  powers. 

IT  is  only  by  culture  that  man  acquires  perfection. 
If  he  is  desirous  of  enjoying  the  preeminence  of  human 
nature,  his  spiritual  as  well  as  his  physical  powers  must 
obtain  a  certain  degree  of  expansion,  refinement,  and 
exaltation.  In  a  rude  and  uncultivated  state  he  is  not  a 
man  :  he  is  only  a  savage  animal,  who  has  certain  dispo- 
sitions which  fit  him  for  becoming  a  man ;  but  as  long  as 
these  dispositions  are  not  expanded  by  culture,  he  is 
raised,  neither  physically  nor  morally,  above  the  other 
classes  of  animals  in  the  like  situation.  The  essential 
part  of  man  which  he  possesses  is  his  susceptibility  of 
perfection ;  and  his  whole  organization  is  so  ordered 
that  he  may  either  become  nothing  or  every  thing. 

The  influence,  therefore,  which  culture  has  in  bring- 
ing to  perfection  the  physical  man,  as  well  as  in  pro- 
longing life,  is  highly  worthy  of  attention.  It  is  gen- 
erally believed  that  all  cultivation  tends  to  weaken  and 
to  shorten  physical  existence ;  but  this  is  the  case  only 
in  regard  to  the  extreme,  for  hyperculture,  which  makes 
man  too  delicate  and  refined,  is  as  pernicious  and  un- 
natural as  the  other  extreme,  want  of  cultivation,  when 
the  faculties  are  not,  or  have  been  too  little,  expanded. 
33  y  both  these,  the  duration  of  life  is  shortened.  Nei- 
ther the  man,  therefore,  who  by  culture  has  become  too 


MENTAL    AND    PHYSICAL    CULTIVATION.          327 

tender,  or  who  leads  too  sensual  or  too  spiritual  a  life, 
nor  the  rude  savage,  ever  attains  to  that  term  of  life 
which  man  is  actually  capable  of  reaching.  On  the 
other  hand,  a  proper  and  suitable  degree  of  mental  and 
bodily  culture,  and,  in  particular,  a  harmonic  formation 
of  all  the  powers,  is,  as  has  been  already  shown,  abso- 
lutely requisite,  before  man  can  attain  to  that  preemi- 
nence over  animals,  in  his  physical  state  and  vital  dura- 
tion, of  which  he  is  really  susceptible. 

It  is  well  worth  the  trouble  to  examine  and  explain 
more  accurately  the  influence  which  real  culture  has  in 
prolonging  life,  and  to  establish  how  far  it  differs  from 
that  which  is  false.  In  lengthening  our  existence  it  acts 
in  the  following  manner  :  — 

It  expands  the  organs  to  perfection,  and  consequently 
renders  life  richer  as  well  as  fuller  of  enjoyment ;  and 
occasions  more  abundant  restoration.  How  many  means 
of  restoration,  unknown  to  the  savage,  has  the  man  who 
possesses  a  cultivated  mind ! 

It  renders  the  whole  texture  of  the  body  somewhat 
softer  and  tenderer ;  consequently  lessens  that  too  great 
hardness  which  impedes  duration  of  life. 

It  secures  us  against  those  destructive  and  life-short- 
ening causes  which  deprive  many  savages  of  their  ex- 
istence ;  such  as  cold,  heat,  the  influence  of  the  weather, 
hunger,  poisonous  and  pernicious  substances,  etc. 

By  reason  and  moral  formation,  it  moderates  and 
regulates  the  passionate  and  merely  animal  part  within 
us  ;  teaches  us  to  support  misfortunes,  injuries,  and  the 
like ;  and,  by  these  means,  moderates  the  too  violent 
and  active  vital  consumption,  which  would  soon  destroy 
us. 


328  MEANS    WHICH   PROLONG   LIFE. 

It  is  the  foundation  of  social  and  political  connections, 
by  which  mutual  aid  laws  and  police  establishments*' 
become  possible ;  and  these  have  a  mediate  effect  in 
prolonging  life. 

Lastly,  it  makes  us  acquainted  with  a  multitude  of 
convenience  and  means  for  rendering  life  more  agree- 
able ;  which  are,  indeed,  less  necessary  in  youth,  but 
which  are  of  the  utmost  importance  in  old  age.  Nour- 
ishment refined  by  the  art  of  cookery,  exercise  made 
easier  by  artificial  helps,  more  perfect  refreshment  and 
rest,  are  all  advantages  by  which  man  in  a  cultivated 
state  can  support  life  much  longer  in  old  age,  than  man 
in  the  rude  state  of  nature. 

From  this  it  already  appears  what  degree  and  what 
kind  of  culture  are  necessary  in  order  to  prolong  life  — 
those  which  physically,  as  well  as  morally,  have  for 
their  object  the  highest  possible  formation  of  our  powers, 
but  which  are  always  regulated  by  that  supreme  moral 
law,  to  which  every  thing,  to  be  good,  suited  to  its  end, 
and  really  beneficial,  must  have  a  relation. 


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is  worthy  of  the  subject ;  and  the  description  of  a  '  Young  and  Shining  Angel,' 
who  steps  into  the  throng  of  bright  immortals,  seems  to  us  to  embody  all  that 
is  holy  and  beautiful  in  poesy. 

'  In  his  air 

Sat  kingly  sweetness,  kind  and  calm  command, 
Yet  with  long  suffering  blended  ;  for  the  soil 
Of  dust  was  on  his  garb  and  sandalled  sole  — 
Dust  on  the  locks  of  fertile  gold  which  flowed 
From  his  fair  forehead,  rippling  down  his  neck  — 
Bedropt,  denied  with  cold  and  cave-like  dew. 
One  hand  a  staff  of  vi  rent  emerald  held 
As  'twere  a  sapling  of  the  free  of  life  ; 
And  one  smoothed  in  his  breast  a  radiant  dove, 
Fluttering  its  wings  in  lightnings,  thousand  hued,  — 
The  sole  companion  of  his  pilgrimage. 
Silent  he  stood  and  gazed.' 

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celebrity.  Somebody  said  of  Bailey  — we  think  it  was  Elliott,  the  Corn-Law 
poet  —  that  there  was  matter  enough  in  the  author  of  '  Festus'  to  set  up  fifty 
poets  ;  and  Alfred  Tennyson  wrote  not  long  ago  that  he  could  scarcely  trust  him- 
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be  fully  indorsed  by  the  readers  of  '  The  Angel  World '  througnout  our  country." 
—  BOSTON  TRANSCRIPT 


BOOKS  PUBLISHED  BY  TICKNOR,  REED,  AND  FIELDS. 


GEORGE    COMBE. 

THE   CONSTITUTION  OF  MAN,  considered  in  Relation  to  Ex- 
ternal Objects.     By  George  Combe.     1  vol.  12mo.    75  cents. 
"  Of  the  merits  of  this  work  it  is  almost  needless  to  speak,  as  its  extensive 
adoption,  as  a  general  reading*book  in  families  and  class  book  in  schools,  has 
made  its  reputation  every  where  familiar.    There  are  few  books  extant,  the  uni- 
versal introduction  ot  which  would  be  productive  of  more  benefit."  —  NAT.  INTEL. 


ALFRED    TENNYSON. 

COMPLETE  POETICAL  WORKS.  Illustrated  -with  a  fine  portrait 
of  the  author.  2  vols.  IGmo.  $1.50.  Cloth,  $1.75  ;  gilt,  $2.50. 

"  There  are  few  living  poets  who  can  be  compared  with  Tennyson  in  those 
peculiar,  distinctive  qualities  which  raij;e  the  true  poet  to  that  quick  apprehension 
of  spiritual  beauty  which  furnishes  him  with  perpetual  inspiration,  and  to  the 
glad  world  an  overflowing  song."  —  EDINBURGH  REVIEW. 

"  Of  the  living  poets  of  England  • — we  include  not  the  few  choice  spirits  of 
Scotland  —  Tennyson  at  this  time  occupies  the  highest  rank,  and  he  is  destined 
to  a  wide  and  high  regard."  —  DR.  GRISWOLD. 

THE  PRINCESS  :   A  Medley.     1  vol.  16mo.    50  cents.    Gilt,  $1. 

"  If  we  were  to  express  the  feeling  of  satisfaction  with  which  we  have  just  read 
every  word  of  this  beautiful,  charming,  and  profound  little  book,  we  should  be 
thought  extravagant.  Nor  does  it  stand  in  need  of  any  enthusiastic  commenda- 
tion to  secure  for  it  a  very  large  circle  of  readers;  for,  of  all  living  poets,  hardly 
any  has  a  wider  or  more  desirable  reputation  in  this  country  than  Tennyson.  The 
mere  announcement  of  a  new  poem  from  his  pen  will  send  thousands  on  an  im- 
mediate pilgrimage  to  their  respective  bookstores."  —  N.  Y.  TRIBUNE. 

IN  MEMORIAM.    1  vol.  16mo.    Cloth,  75  cents. 

"  The  most  exquisite  creation  by  any  man  of  genius  during  the  last  forty  years." 
— EDINBURGH  REVIEW. 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL. 

THE  POETICAL  WORKS.  With  a  Memoir  by  James  M'Conechy, 
Esq.  A  new  edition,  enlarged.  1  vol.  IGmo.  75  cents.  Cloth,  88  cents  j 
gilt,  $125. 

"Motherwell  was  a  poet  of  the  right  cast  — a  man  of  fire  and  inspiration. 
When  we  read  his  verses  we  feel  that  the  writer  is  not  mocking  us  with  an  affec- 
tation of  what  he  describes,  but  that  he  has  surrendered  himself,  heart  and  soul, 
to  the  passion  that  carries  us  along  with  him."  —  LITERARY  WORLD. 

POSTHUMOUS  POEMS.     1  vol.  16mo.    50  cents. 

MINSTRELSY,  ANCIENT  AND  MODERN.  Edited  by  Mother- 
well.  With  an  Historical  Introduction  and  Notes.  2  vols.  IGino.  $1.50. 
Cloth,  $1.75;  gilt,  $2.50. 

"  In  fact,  it  is  a  book  which  takes  after  the  heart  of  almost  any  body  who  has 
one ;  and  with  its  rich  Scotch  brogue,  and  its  high-strung  Scotch  feeling,  it  must 
be  a  hard  heart  that  will  not  bo  touched  now  and  then  with  it."  —  CHROMOTYPE. 

"  Most  of  the  ballads  he  has  selected  are  beautiful  specimens  of  that  natural 
poetry  which  springs  directly  from  the  heart  and  imagination  in  words  and  images 
fresh  and  bright  from  Nature's  own  mint.  The  interest  of  the  reader  is  enhanced 
by  feeling  that  he  is  reading  poems  which  were  sung,  centuries  ago,  in  the  palace 
halls,  and  by  the  cottage  hearths  of  a  whole  nation,  and  which  formed  the  litera- 
ture of  thousands  on  thousands  of  minds  who  had  no  other.  Every  thing  in  them 


BOOKS  PUBLISHED  BY  TicMTOR,  REED,  AND  FIELDS.  7 

betokens  youth  of  feeling.  The  minstrels  seem  to  have  looked  upon  nature 
as  if  it  had  just  come  from  the  Creator's  hand,  and  as  if  they  were  the  first  to 
exercise  upon  it  the  plastic  powers  of  imagination  and  passion."  —  COURIER. 


RICHARD    MONCKTON    MILNES. 

POEMS  OF  MANY  YEARS.    1  vol.  16mo.    75  cents ;   cloth,  88 

cents  ;  gilt,  $  1.25. 

"  The  author,  who  is  or  was  a  member  of  Parliament,  has,  for  the  last  ten 
years,  divided  with  Tennyson  the  admiration  and  affection  of  'Young  Eng- 
land.' His  style  is  eminently  pure,  and  something  in  the  Wordsworthian  strain. 
'  The  Lay  of  the  Humble'  is  one  of  the  most  touching  things  in  the  language. 
We  never  saw  a  thoughtful  child  that  could  read  it  without  shedding  tears  ;  and 
many  a  childlike  man  has  wept  over  its  simple  pathos  and  beauty.  Milnes  is  too 
sincere  and  sensitive  not  to  please  the  million.  His  poems  are  full  of  beauties." 
—  POST. 


HORACE    AND    JAMES    SMITH. 

REJECTED    ADDRESSES;     or    the    New  Theatrum   Poetarum. 

From  the  last  London  edition,  carefully  revised,  with  an  original  preface 

and  notes  by  the  authors.    1  vol.  16mo.    50  cents. 

"  In  selecting  one  of  the  raciest  and  wittiest  works  of  the  age  for  republication, 
Ticknor  &  Co.  have  certainly  evinced  as  much  judgment  as  the  whole  appear- 
ance of  the  work  betrays  good  taste  and  the  perfection  of  the  art  of  printing."  — 
TIMES. 

WARRENIANA.    1  vol.  16mo.    63  cents. 


BARRY    CORNWALL. 

ENGLISH  SONGS,  and  other  Small  Poems.  A  new  and  enlarged 
edition.  1  vol.  16mo.  88  cents. 

"  Barry  Cornwall  (B.  W.  Proctor)  is  a  name  that  should  be  on  every  book 
shelf  which  at  all  pretends  to  contain  the  works  of  modern  English  poets.  In 
his  own  domain  he  is  almost  unexcelled."  —  TIMES. 

"The  songs  of  Barry  Cornwall  are  too  widely  known,  too  justly  prized,  to  be 
reviewed  casually  now.  In  contemplating  them,  criticism  gives  place  to  admira- 
tion, whose  speech  is  silence.  We  had  intended  only  to  introduce  a  few  selec- 
tions from  this  glorious  volume  —  selections  difficult  to  make,  because  so  many 
of  these  songs  are  already  household  words  to  us  all.  To  quote  '  King  Death,' 
« The  Sea,'  '  The  Hunter's  Song,'  &c.,  would  be  superfluous."  —  TRIBUNE. 


EPES    SARGENT. 

SONGS    OF   THE    SEA,  with  other  Poems.     1  vol.  16mo.     50 

cents;  gilt,  75  cents. 

"  Mr.  Sargent  has  an  admirable  faculty  of  description ;  his  pictures  are  true 
and  living,  and  never  exaggerated.  The  most  striking  feature  of  his  verse  is  ac- 
tion ;  every  thing  moves  with  him.  His  diction,  too,  is  uncommonly  good.  His 
<  Life  on  the  Ocean  Wave '  is  perfect ;  when  we  read  it,  we  feel  the  fresh  breeze 
rushing  against  our  cheeks,  and  the  blood  starting  in  our  veins,  as  the  ship  tri- 
umphs over  the  waves."  —  N.  Y.  TRIBUNE. 


8  BOOKS  PUBLISHED  BY  TICKNOR,  REED,  AND  FIELDS. 

HENRY  THEODORE  TUCKERMAN. 

POEMS.    1  vol.  16mo.    75  cents. 
"One  of  the  purest  writers  in  America."— LONDON  LEADER. 

FANNY    FORESTER. 

ALDERBROOK.  A  Collection  of  Fanny  Forester's  Village 
Sketches,  Poems,  &c.  With  a  fine  mezzotinto  portrait  of  the  author,  en- 
graved by  Sartain.  Ninth  edition.  Enlarged.  2  vols.  12mo.  $  1.75  :  gilt, 
$2.50;  extra  gilt,  $3.00.  The  same  in  1  vol.,  $1.62:  gilt,  $2.25:  extra 
gilt,  $2.75. 

"  This  is  one  of  those  charming  books  which  well  deserve  a  place  in  every 
family  library,  and  which  has  already  won  a  place  in  thousands  of  hearts.  The 
sketches  comprised  in  these  beautiful  volumes  are  so  full  of  grace  and  tenderness, 
so  pure  in  their  style,  and  so  elevated  in  their  tone,  that  none  can  read  them  with- 
out delight  and  profit.  We  hazard  little  in  saying  that  the  touching  story  of 
'Grace  Linden,'  which  properly  leads  the  collection,  is  scarcely  surpassed  in 
beauty  by  any  thing  in  the  works  of  Maria  Edgeworth  or  Mary  Russell  Mitford. 
There  are  a  great  many  other  sketches  in  the  volumes  that  deserve  special  praise, 
but  we  will  not  deal  in  particulars  when  all  are  so  admirable." — So.  LIT 
GAZETTE. 


THE  SOLITARY  OF  JUAN  FERNANDEZ,  or  the  Real  Robin- 
son Crusoe.  By  the  Author  of  Picciola.  Translated  from  the  French  by 
Anne  T.  Wilbur.  1  vol.  16mo.  50  cents. 


MEMORY  AND  HOPE.    A  beautiful  volume,  referring  to  child- 
hood.   1  vol.  8vo.    $2.00. 


LIGHTS  AND  SHADOWS  OF  DOMESTIC  LIFE,  and  other 
Stories.  By  the  authors  of  "  Rose  and  her  Lamb,"  "  Two  New  Scholars," 
&c.,  &c.  Contents :  Lights  and  Shadows  of  Domestic  Life;  The  Secret  of 
Happiness ;  Laura  Seymour ;  The  Intimate  Friends ;  Shadows  and  Reali- 
ties -}  Sketches  of  Character,  or  Who  is  Free  ?  1  vol.  16mo.  62  cents 


CHARLES    SUMMER. 

ORATIONS  AND  SPEECHES.  "Another  time  perhaps  shall 
come,  worthier  than  ours,  in  which,  hatreds  being  subdued,  Truth  shall 
triumph.  With  me  desire  this,  O  reader,  and  farewell!  "  —  LEIBNITZ.  2 
vols.  16mo.  $  2.50. 

"  We  have  Mr.  Sumner's  printed  discourses  before  us,  and  can  testify  from 
personal  knowledge  to  their  singular  merits.  They  are  pregnant  with  thoughts 
of  profound  and  universal  interest.  They  are  not  productions  to  be  laid  aside 
with  the  occasion  that  called  them  forth,  but  to  be  preserved  for  our  future  in- 
struction and  delight.  They  derive  this  quality,  in  a  great  measure,  from  those 
characteristics  of  the  author's  mind  —  his  earnestness,  the  union  of  moral  fear- 
lessness and  intellectual  caution  in  the  statement  of  his  opinions,  and  his  rever- 
ence for  original  principles  in  comparison  with  popular  custom  or  fashionable 
belief:"  — NEW  YORK  TRIBUNE. 


FOURTEEN  DAY  USE 


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